Rock Fishing- Australia’s most dangerous sport

Q: Is rock fishing safe?

Rock fishing is the most dangerous marine sport in Australia. Every year people die while rock fishing. If you want to rockfish, learn how to minimise the risks.

Q: How can I reduce the risks of rock fishing?

The three main ways to reduce the risks of rock fishing are:
1) check and understand the weather conditions and tides before you leave home
2) never fish alone
3) wear the right fishing safety gear.

Q: What is the best type of gear to wear?

Wear gear that stops you from slipping into the water or reduces problems if you do go into the surf. Wear shoes with non-slip soles or cleats. Rock plates or cleats are essential on wet, weedy rocks. Wear lightweight clothing and a flotation jacket, so that if you’re swept off rocks, you are buoyant and your clothes don’t drag you underwater. Also, wear head protection because many people who have drowned when swept off rocks have received some sort of head injury.

Q: How do I know if a spot is safe?

No place is perfectly safe for rock fishing. To minimize risks, fish only with others in places where experienced anglers go. Spend at least half an hour watching the wind and wave action before deciding whether a place is suitable. Think – what will your fishing spot be like in a few hour’s time with different tides and a weather change?

Q: Do I need a fishing license?

If you’re over 18 and not a pensioner, you need a license to fish. This includes rock fishing and collecting bait. Recreational fishing licenses and renewals are processed through the Department of Transport’s DotDirect website. For more information visit

Q: I do enjoy collecting abalone, oysters, or other mollusks off the rocks. Is this as dangerous as rock fishing?

Whenever you’re on coastal rocks where waves can sweep you into the water, you should follow the same practical guidelines to minimize the risk of being washed away – know and understand the weather conditions and tides, don’t go alone, and wear the right gear, especially non-slip shoes. And remember you need a fishing license when collecting any marine creatures, even by hand. Contact us for more details.

Boating Safety

Q: When and why should I check the weather conditions before I go out boating to follow boating safety?

A thorough check of weather conditions is vital every time one goes boating and has to follow boating safety. This includes having an appreciation of how the conditions may change throughout the day. A forecast change in weather for example may result in relatively calm conditions in the morning turning into potentially dangerous conditions in the afternoon.

Make sure your vessel is appropriate for the conditions and that you have the necessary experience to handle the forecast conditions. Remember if in doubt, don’t go out.

Q: I’ve been boating for years and can swim OK, do I still need to wear a life jacket?

Life jackets or PFDs are an important safety item on any boat and there should be one onboard for each person. Children and poor swimmers should always wear a PFD.

Make sure that your life jacket is in good condition, accessible and ready for use or preferably WEAR IT because a life jacket stowed way will not do the job it was designed for.

Q: Is it OK to have a few beers when out on the water in a boat?

The combination of wind waves and weather can multiply the effects of alcohol and collectively are known as ‘boater fatigue’. Persons with ‘boater fatigue’ are at a greater risk of drowning should they fall into the water.

The blood alcohol limits are the same on the water as on our roads. A person in charge of a vessel must keep under the 0.05 blood alcohol limit. For commercial vessel operators the lower blood alcohol limit of 0.02 applies.

Contact us to book your course.

Beach Safety

Q: Where should I bathe and swim at the beach?

Bathe and swim between the red and yellow beach flags which indicate beach patrol – bathing and swimming permitted. This area is set up on a daily basis and is constantly under surveillance by beach safety.

Q: Who watches bathers and swimmers between the red and yellow flags?

Professional lifeguards and weekend volunteer lifesavers ensure that people bathing and swimming between the red and yellow flags are constantly under surveillance. Many coastal Councils employ professional ocean lifeguards at beaches 5, 6 or 7 days each week during the Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons or all year round at their most popular beaches. Volunteer lifesavers also attend patrols on weekends during the summer season.

Q: What signs are used at beaches?

Australian Standard water safety signs are used at beaches to help provide information, warn people of particular hazards, and to regulate or prohibit some activities. If you are unsure of what a sign means, then ask an on-duty professional lifeguard or volunteer lifesaver.

Q: What if I am unsure about the water conditions?

Approach the professional lifeguard or weekend volunteer lifesaver and ask about the conditions.

Q: How do I recognise professional lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers?

Professional lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers are located in or near prominently identified equipment including beach shelters, surveillance towers, 4WD vehicles, lifeguard powercraft (RWC or Rescue Water Craft also known as Jet Skis) and inshore rescue boats ( also known as Inflatable Rescue Boats or IRBs) . Council professional lifeguards typically wear long-sleeved white or blue shirts with the word LIFEGUARD in block letters on the front and back and blue shorts/tracksuit pants, full blue uniforms as seen on the popular television series BONDI RESCUE, Volunteer lifesavers wear red and yellow including the red and yellow skull cap.

Q: What is a rip?

A rip is a seaward-moving water current. After waves have broken and run shore-wards the accumulated water then moves seaward through a pathway of least resistance which usually is a channel called a rip. Rips move in different directions and flow rates depending upon the nature of the beach and prevailing conditions including swell direction, wave size, and tide level.  Rips are the cause of numerous near-drowning and drowning deaths because inexperienced people often panic and exhaust themselves struggling against the flow of the rip.

Q: Where do rips occur in Beach Safety?

Rips occur whenever there is wave activity at beaches – near sandbars and in and around rocks, breakwalls, or any permanent ocean floor to water surface fixture in the ocean. When the waves are small the rips usually move in a circular pattern back towards a sandbank within the surf break, however the larger the waves, the stronger the flow, width, and length of the rips. During high surf, rips can travel past the surf break and are called mega rips.

Q: What do I do if I get caught in a rip?

Crosscurrents and flash rips can cause people to be washed from a bathing and swimming area that is usually a location where waves break on sandbars. Staying calm is essential. Saving energy is not going directly against the rip is important. At beaches where the bathing and swimming area is identified with red and yellow flags, or surfers are nearby, it is best to save energy by floating and requesting assistance if caught in a rip by waving an arm and calling out for help. Floating and conserving energy is important until help arrives. Struggling against a rip is very exhausting and can lead to panic. Float, relax and save your life if caught in Beach Safety.

Q: What equipment do lifeguards use?

Council professional ocean lifeguards are trained in beach management and emergency response. They are highly skilled in the use of a range of first aid and rescue equipment including: rescue boards, rescue tubes, neck braces, spinal boards, defibrillators, trauma packs, analgesic gases, radio communication, quad cycles, ATVs & 4WD response vehicles, lifeguard powercraft (RWC or Jetski) with rescue sleds, water safety signage and protective equipment.

Automatic External Defibrillator AED Quiz

This is a fun general knowledge quiz on the operations of an automated external defibrillator.

Please enter your email:

1. What should you check before delivering a shock to a victim?


2. The defibrillator pads used to deliver the electrical shock to the heart can be placed on or over patients clothing


3. An AED will deliver a shock if a victim is ‘alive’ or has a normal heartbeat


4. You can use an automated external defibrillator if a victim is on a metal surface


5. You cannot use a defibrillator if a casualty has a pacemaker fitted


6. Defibrillators should come with a small towel, what is this used for?


7. You should not use a defibrillator if there is a risk of igniting flammable gases


8. If you are a lone rescuer, using an AED takes priority over performing CPR


9. How does a defibrillator work?


10. What are the four links in the Chain of Survival?