Mandatory life jacket trial starts today

Issued: 1 December 2016

Rock fishers in the Randwick Local Government Area will be required to wear a life jacket from today as part of a 12-month trial aimed at increasing safety on the state's coast.

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said there would be a 12-month grace period before the law is enforced and rock fishers caught not wearing a life jacket are fined $100.

Enforcement officers from Randwick City Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Police Force will warn rock fishers in the area not wearing a life jacket.

Today also marks the start of a new statewide education campaign targeting culturally and linguistically diverse communities about the dangers of rock fishing and encouraging the use of a life jacket.

"Wearing a life jacket is just common sense, if you don't care about your own safety enough to wear one then think of the emergency services worker who will be asked to come and save you if you are swept off the rocks," Mr Elliott said.

Ten people died while rock fishing in NSW during 2015-16, not one was wearing a life jacket. A coronial inquiry into the deaths of nine rock fishers carried out last year recommended the mandatory use of life jackets by people engaged in rock fishing.

Evidence shows a person is more likely to die while rock fishing in Randwick LGA than anywhere else in Australia.

Wearing a life jacket is not compulsory at this stage in other local government areas, however the message for rock fishers continues to be wear a life jacket, appropriate clothing and footwear, check weather and surf conditions before you leave home, tell someone where you are going and never fish alone.

Transport for NSW's Old4New van will visit popular rock fishing areas in summer to offer discounted life jackets to rock fishers and provide safety information.

For more information, go to: http://www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au/rock-fishing/