Council reminds anglers of life jacket requirement while fishing from high-risk local rock platforms

SAFETY FIRST: Rock fisherman, Eric Xue, from Eastwood in Sydney, does the right thing and wears a life vest when he fishes at Snapper Point, in Munmorah State Conservation Area. Picture: Marina Neal
SAFETY FIRST: Rock fisherman, Eric Xue, from Eastwood in Sydney, does the right thing and wears a life vest when he fishes at Snapper Point, in Munmorah State Conservation Area. Picture: Marina Neal

Lake Macquarie City Council is urging rock fishers to play it safe as new legislation makes it compulsory for them to wear life jackets along the city's coast.

An average of eight people lose their lives while rock fishing in NSW every year.

In an effort to improve safety, council opted into the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016, which makes the wearing of life jackets on all rock platforms exposed to ocean swell in Lake Macquarie mandatory.

Central Coast Council also opted in to the regulations.

Under the legislation, local rock platforms such as Dudley, Swansea Heads and Catherine Hill Bay are considered "high risk rock fishing locations" and require life jackets to be worn.

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Council's lifeguard service team leader Paul Stone said council wanted people to continue to enjoy rock fishing, but to be more aware of the risks and to fish safely.

"First and foremost, we want people to be safe along our coastline, no matter the activity. Rock fishing can be dangerous and the mandatory use of life jackets at all rock fishing platforms across Lake Macquarie will help individuals in the event they are swept into the water," Mr Stone said.

"In addition to wearing life jackets, rock fishers should stay alert to the weather conditions, know how to swim, choose the safest location possible and never fish alone.

"Council rangers will continue to work with NSW Police Marine Area Command in a supporting role to inform and educate rock fishers about safer practices and the new legislation."

As part of the introduction of the legislation, council will install warning signs at key locations. Rock fishers not wearing life jackets while fishing at local rock platforms risk a $100 fine.

More information and helpful rock fishing safety tips are available by visiting watersafety.nsw.gov.au/rockfishing

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