In Australia (and probably other places as well) people are killed every year rock fishing in dangerous conditions. We can limit these tragedies by following some simple safety rules:
Thanks for the NSW department of primary industries for these great safety tips.
- Never fish by yourself: fish in a group of at least three people and within sight of each other. If someone is washed in, one person can stay and help while the other alerts emergency services.
- Inform others of your plans: always let friends or family know where you are going and when you will be back.
- Wear light clothing: light clothing such as shorts and a spray jacket will let you swim easily if you are washed in. Jumpers may be heavy and difficult to take off.
- Wear appropriate footwear: cleats, sandals and sandshoes with non slip soles suit different surfaces. Use the appropriate shoes for the conditions.
- Carry safety gear: wear a life jacket or buoyancy vest. Also bring something buoyant that can be easily thrown and held onto, to help you stay afloat. Carry ropes and torches.
- Never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas: make sure you are aware of local weather, swell and tidal conditions before going fishing. Listen to weather forecasts or call a weather information line. Be aware that conditions may change dramatically in a short period of time.
- Observe first, fish later: spend some time (at least 30 minutes) watching your intended spot before fishing to get an idea of the conditions over a full swell/wave cycle. Wave conditions can get worse as the tide changes - you should know whether the tides are high or low and coming in or going out.
- Plan an escape route in case you are washed in: stay calm - If you are washed in, swim away from the rocks and look for a safe place to come ashore or stay afloat and wait for help to arrive.
- Stay alert. Don't ever turn your back on the sea: if the waves, weather or swell threaten your fishing spot then leave immediately.
- Ask for advice from locals who know the area: they can advise you of good, safe fishing locations.
Fisher wearing a life jacket