Rock Fishing

Rock fishing is one of New Zealand’s most popular but dangerous recreational activities. Fishers continue to place themselves at risk on Auckland’s rugged and unpredictable west coast by failing to heed simple safety advice that could save their life. WaterSafe Auckland, Surf Life Saving Northern Region and Auckland Council work together to implement the West Coast Rock Fishing Safety Project, in place since five lives were lost in 2005. This project has made significant impact, not only reducing the number of drownings but influencing behaviour change. There are a number of actions you can take to keep yourself safer while rock fishing. While any one of them may increase your level of safety, using all the actions together will provide you the most protection.

Be Prepared

  • Wear a lifejacket* – this offers the best chance of survival should you fall into the water.
  • Wear light, warm clothing and sport shoes (not gumboots).
  • Fish with someone who has fishing experience and knows the site well.
  • Seek advice about unfamiliar locations from other fishers or locals.
  • Follow the advice of safety signs and warnings.
  • Check the swell, weather and tide forecast before choosing your fishing location. Avoid getting cut off by an incoming tide, plan an escape route.
  • Keep your eyes on the sea, be prepared to quickly climb to safety.
  • If your fish or equipment is swept into a dangerous area or the sea, leave it there, don’t risk your life to retrieve it.
  • Know who and how to get help in an emergency, carry a mobile phone, call 111.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.

Watch Mariposa Mariner’s story of survival, from “There Will Be Another Day” Pacific water safety DVD.

Useful links

Watch Asia Downunder’s ‘Lifeline to Safety’ video on YouTube

Watch other videos in our Gallery.

West Coast Rock Fishing Safety Project Research and Reports