Rock fishing – fishing from rock ledges, submerged rocks, rock faces and rocks that go into the water – is a popular, yet potentially dangerous aquatic sport in Australia. It can however, be enjoyed safely if appropriate safety precautions are taken. Click below for rock fishing safety information and to explore LSV’s rock fishing safety communications project.
Follow these basic safety tips at all times when rock fishing:
- Always wear a life jacket
- Never fish alone
- Inform others of your plans
- Wear light clothing and appropriate footwear
- Carry safety gear – carry a rope and a float
- Never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas
- Observe first, fish later
- Plan an escape route in case you are washed in
- Stay alert
- Ask for advice from locals who know the area
Rock fishing is a popular yet dangerous recreational activity. Coroner records reveal that of 13 rock fisher drowning deaths reported from 2000-2012 in the Australian state of Victoria, all were male, 85% were aged 35-59 years, and 85% were from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. None of these drowning victims were wearing lifejackets.
This series of drowning events prompted the development of a safety campaign targeting the prevention of rock fisher drowning incidents. The three year state-wide campaign (2013-15) adopted public awareness strategies and advertising which targeted rock fishers and identified at-risk CALD communities. The priority message encouraged all rock fishers to wear lifejackets.
This was delivered over three years as an extension of the Play it Safe by the Water campaign, with support from key stakeholders including VR Fish and Fisheries Victoria.
The project delivered a three-year, state-wide public awareness and advertising campaign for rock fishing safety, targeting all rock fishers and specifically at-risk Chinese and Vietnamese communities.
The priority message for the campaign was to encourage all rock fishers to wear a lifejacket while fishing.
Key communications outputs
- Release of radio and press advertising targeting Chinese and Vietnamese communities.
- Workshops for Chinese and Vietnamese rock fishers to provide fishing tips and educate about rock fishing safety.
- Placement of roadside and car park signs in targeted locations to highlight key rock fishing safety messages.
- Observational studies and surveys of rock fishers were used to inform and track progress of the communications campaign.
- The rollout of advertising targeting desired behaviour change to safer practices (e.g., wearing a lifejacket) had limited success in terms of behaviour change.
- The observational study showed that people were less likely to fish alone as a result of communications outputs.
- However, there was no change in other safety behaviours, including no increase in lifejacket wear.
- Survey results suggest rock fishers recognise the dangers associated with rock fishing but fail to behave safely.
- This presents practical difficulties in changing behaviours necessitating the need for further development of innovative drowning prevention strategies.
‘Run to save a life’ raises over $5900 and community awareness for rock fishing safety
Life Saving Victoria would like to congratulate Jasmina Pedic on completing her ‘Run to Save a Life’ and raising almost $6000 to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the drowning death of her father, Rasim Pedic in a rock fishing accident at the Punch Bowl in 2006.
Jasmina commenced the run from her home in Noble Park North at 6am on Wednesday morning, to raise awareness about the dangers the ocean presents to rock fishers, and to highlight the importance of safety awareness while rock fishing.
She arrived at the Punch Bowl at approximately 2.30pm, to be welcomed and congratulated by family and friends, together with representatives from Bass Coast Shire, Parks Victoria, local police, and Life Saving Victoria.
Life Saving Victoria Manager Communications Jennifer Roberts said that Jasmina’s motivation and dedication has been truly inspiring and has made a huge contribution to both fundraising, and raising awareness of rock fishing safety.
“Raising $5900 is an incredible achievement, and will make a direct contribution to Life Saving Victoria’s rock fishing safety project, by providing a life jacket for each participant in our rock fishing workshops, so they can be better prepared to enjoy their hobby safely,” she said.
“At the Punch Bowl site there have been five rock fishing drowning deaths since 2000, and we have seen a key trend in these cases of the victim being male and from a non-english speaking background.
“On behalf of Life Saving Victoria, I’d like to thank Jasmina for her fantastic effort and contribution to our important prevention work and we look forward to continuing this partnership throughout the three years of our project.”