Lifejacket discussion a positive step forward

2 May 2018

Royal Life Saving Society WA welcomes the current community discussion on lifejacket use by those taking part in rock-fishing.

Premier Mark McGowan has this week indicated that the State Government is looking at whether existing laws would allow it to fine people who failed to wear lifejackets while fishing at known black spots. It comes after two men were swept from rocks at Salmon Holes near Albany last weekend, with one airlifted to Perth for hospital treatment. Early last month 30 year-old Samuel Roth lost his life after being swept from rocks at The Deep, 30km west of Albany.

Mr McGowan says lifejackets may be made mandatory for people fishing at WA’s most deadly rock fishing sites.

Royal Life Saving WA CEO Peter Leaversuch is pleased that the State Government is taking action on the issue. “Action is appropriate given the number and frequency of drowning incidents. Change is also warranted given advances in life-jacket design making them far more functional and comfortable.”

Mr Leaversuch says that while government has a vital role, more also needs to be done to empower participants to look after themselves. “Royal Life Saving has been making an important contribution at the ‘grass roots’ level by training tens of thousands of children each year in the use of life-jackets via our Swim & Survive program with life-jackets generously supplied by BHP. Our goal is to ‘normalise’ the use of life-jackets by future generations.”

Our Old4new lifejacket exchange program, delivered in partnership with the Department of Transport’s Marine Safety division, is also making inroads into the ‘normalisation’ of lifejacket use. “The program has accelerated the early adoption of comfortable, wearable life-jackets, enabling boaters and fishing enthusiasts to exchange the old style bulky lifejackets for the new style self-inflating jackets which are far easier to wear throughout a day on or by the water” Mr Leaversuch says.

“For recreational boating and rock-fishing to continue to grow in popularity and for these pursuits to be practiced in a safe manner change is necessary and innovative solutions are required.”

For more information on our Old4New program click the link below.

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