Rock Fishing and Coastal Safety

A boy sitting on a rock, fishing by the ocean

Our beautiful Western Australian coastline and good fishing conditions make rock fishing a popular and enjoyable hobby for many in regional areas. However fishing on rocks has its dangers. Unpredictable waves, weather and slippery rocks increase the chances of a fisherman being swept into the water, with opportunities for rescue obstructed by a lack of lifesaving equipment and high swells that can prevent sightings of the victim.

Our research

Through collected drowning data, the Royal Life Saving Society WA has identified 34 rock fishing related drowning deaths between 2001/02 to 2015/16. All bar two incidents were in regional Western Australia and a quarter occurred at Salmon Holes in Albany, a location notorious for high swells and poor weather conditions.

It is important for us to better understand the views of WA rock fisherman in regards to motivators for fishing during rough conditions, use of personal protection devices and safety strategies and individual swimming ability. We will be collaborating with the University of Western Australia in the near future to better understand these points and determine how best to prevent rock fishing drownings going forward.

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