Far South Coast Surf Life Saving support mandatory life jackets for rock fishing

Emergency services rescue rock anglers swept out to sea at Tathra in 2017.
Emergency services rescue rock anglers swept out to sea at Tathra in 2017.

As one of the most dangerous sports in Australia, it has claimed 158 lives in the past 13 years. Each year however around 1.2 million people head to the coastline to go rock fishing.

Of those 158 rock fishing deaths, 99 per cent were not wearing a life jacket.

On Friday, the NSW government announced an opt in model for coastal councils to make it a legal requirement to wear a life jacket while rock fishing.

Currently, only 17 per cent of rock anglers say they always wear a life jacket. 

The development follows a 12 month trial of the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 in the Sydney council of Randwick, enforcing the mandatory use of life jackets. 

Surf Life Saving Australia’s Far South Coast branch manager Andrew Edmunds urged councils to implement the act, saying the sport is the second highest cause of drowning in the region.