Australia’s most dangerous sport – Rockfishing
Q: Is rockfishing 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 when rock fishing?
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 for rock fishing?
No place is perfectly safe for rock fishing. To minimise 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 hours time with different tides and a weather change?
Q: Do I need a fishing license when rock fishing?
If you’re over 18 and not a pensioner, you need a license to fish. This includes rock fishing and collecting bait. Recreational fishing licences and renewals are processed through the Department of Transport’s DotDirect website. For more information visit www.fish.wa.gov.au
Q: I do enjoy collecting abalone, oysters or other molluscs 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 minimise 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.