Rock fishing is an increasingly popular recreational activity yet it is also one of New Zealand's most dangerous.
Auckland's rugged west coast claimed five lives in 2005 alone and rock fishers continue to place themselves at risk by failing to heed simple safety advice that could save their life. Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Auckland Council and WaterSafe Auckland work together to implement the West Coast Rock Fishing Safety Project.
Don't put your life on the line:
- 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).
- Learn to swim and survive in a safe water environment (try wearing your wetsuit and/or lifejacket).
- Tell somebody where you are going and when you will return.
- Fish with experienced people and never fish alone.
- Follow the advice of safety signs.
- Seek advice about unfamiliar locations from the rock fishing safety advisors and/or surf life saving personnel.
- Check the swell, weather and tide forecast before choosing your fishing location. The tidal range can be up to 4 metres or more and there is often a swell. Rock fishing is not advised during high swells.
- Many locations get covered or cut off by the incoming tides, plan an escape route from large waves and incoming tides.
- Watch the ocean and waves for 10 minutes before moving onto the rock platform.
- Avoid surf spray or wet rocks that have been swept by spray.
- Never turn your back on the sea. Be prepared to quickly climb to safety.
- If a fish or equipment is swept into a dangerous area or the sea, leave it there, don't climb down to retrieve tackle.
- Carry a rope, first aid kit, flashlight and a handheld flare.
- Carry a cellphone in a waterproof plastic bag and call 111 in an emergency.
- Know how to find help and have a method to contact this help.
- If in doubt about the conditions or your own ability find a safer location.
- Avoid alcohol before and during fishing.
- Comply with the Fisheries Act 1983 and the Fisheries Act 1996 and associated regulations.
Watch AsiaDownunder's 'Lifeline to Safety' video on YouTube
More rock fishing information and advice www.lifesaving.org.nz
West Coast Rock Fishing Safety Project Research and Reports
Recreational fishing rules and limits for fishers:
- Ministry of Fisheries. www.fish.govt.nz
- Fishing and marine retailers
- Bennetts Government Bookshops