Safe Fishing

Recreational fishing is a highly valued activity by many West Aussies and forms an integral part of the economic and social fabric of coastal and regional communities across Western Australia.

A recent economic study detailed the economic spend by recreational fishers on fishing related activities such as fishing trips and travel, fishing gear and boat fishing costs injects $2.4 billion into the State’s economy each year.

With families, locals and tourists all choosing to spend their time enjoying our coastline, unfortunately not everyone returns home safe at the end of a day’s fishing. It is the rocky coastline, hazardous conditions, slippery surfaces and poor decision making that plays a prevalent role in recreational fishing fatalities in WA.

There are 76 angel rings installed at fishing locations across WA as part of the State-wide angel ring program. Find out more in the dedicated section below!

Safe fishing continues to be a high priority for Recfishwest and a major pillar of our strategic plan.

Recfishwest continue to work tirelessly to promote the need for safety to be part of every fishing experience, drive behavioural change towards safe fishing, model safe fishing experiences and invest in safety infrastructure across the State.

Check out and read more about the projects we’ve been working on:

Fish and Survive

Our Fish and Survive program is designed to change behaviour and promote fishing safety through communications and public awareness initiatives while facilitating the installation of life-saving devices at high-risk fishing locations across WA.

Click to view where safety infrastructure has been installed and where you can loan a lifejacket.

The Fish and Survive website, and supporting Facebook page, promotes safe fishing and give you the information you need to ensure you return home safe after a days fishing.

It also influences the fishing community to change their behaviours and attitudes towards wearing lifejackets.

Visit our Fish and Survive website here!

FREE Lifejacket Loan Program

Recfishwest, along with community partners and tackle shops provide the WA fishing community with FREE loan lifejackets, where rock fishers can head into their local regional tackle shop and hire a lifejacket for free for the day.

This is a service that we believe help bring fishers home safe. This has been made possible with the support from local communities and international safety experts, Survitec.

The jackets that are available for hire are user-activated jackets that require the user to pull the ‘inflate’ toggle when they enter the water.

If you notice your jacket is damaged, or you’ve had to inflate it, please return it to store owner and let them know and we can replace it.

Click to view where safety infrastructure has been installed and where you can loan a lifejacket!

Free loan lifejackets are available to fishers at multiple locations across the State, including Quobba. Picture: Perth Fishing Safaris

Snag It, Tag It

Recfishwest is proud to continue to partner with Western Rock Lobster for the Snag It, Tag It campaign – aimed at reducing the risk of snagged fishing gear injuring commercial crayfishermen.

Over the years, a significant number of cray boat deckhands have been injured off the WA coast after being struck by fishing gear snagged on lobster pot lines as the pots are hauled to the surface on a high-speed winch.

In a bid to reduce these nasty and unnecessary injuries, thousands of the pictured tags have been produced for recfishers to attach to pot ropes and floats to warn commercial cray fishers when their gear has been snagged with sinkers, line, hooks and lures.

The tags are distributed in the metropolitan area, the State’s north and the State’s south, encouraging fishers to tag their snags.

However, if you don’t have any tags on you at the time of a snag, tie a knot in the cray pot rope to warn commercial crayfishermen.

Western Rock Lobster and Recfishwest believe everyone should return home safe after a day’s fishing and the Snag It, Tag It initiative is a great opportunity for recreational and commercial fishers to work together to keep each other safe on the water.

Click here to read more about Snag it, Tag It.

Or, find more information on the initiative at the Western Rock Lobster website.

Check out the list of places stocking the tags here.

Keep the Sand Between Your Toes - Easter Salmon Fishing Campaign

The annual salmon run attracts thousands of fishers to the southern parts of the state and in the past has resulted in various rock fishing fatalities as people put the fish first, before their own personal safety in all the excitement.

Every year, the ‘Keep the Sand Between Your Toes’ campaign involves the distribution of 10,000 flyers to all tackle stores between Busselton and Esperance, the promotion of key messages through social media partnerships, articles, newsletters, advertising and media.

It includes translated articles hosted on multi-lingual platforms and various radio interviews throughout the entire salmon season.

The Easter Salmon Fishing Campaign focuses primarily on people catching salmon from our beaches as we believe the pristine white sandy beaches of WA coast combined with the splendid sports fishing qualities of this species truly makes this the world’s best fishing on the world’s best beaches.

Campaign objective:

  • To promote excellent beach fishing in the Southern parts of the state, encouraging people to fish from the beach;
  • To raise public awareness around the dangers of going rock fishing;
  • To help fishers make educated decisions before heading out for a day’s fishing including always check the weather before heading out, tell someone where they’re going, never fish alone, watch and observe before fishing, wear the right gear, be familiar with public safety equipment around them and wear a lifejacket if fishing from the rocks;
  • To minimise/eliminate the risk of rock fishing fatalities; and,
  • Make people aware of the public safety equipment available to them.

What behaviour do we want to change?

  • Reduce the amount of unexperienced people fishing from the rocks and see more people choosing to fish from the beach; and,
  • Decision-making practices – encourage fishers to access ALL the risks before going fishing, a lifejacket is your last resort.
Recfishwest’s Ben Carlish hooked-up to a salmon while keeping the sand between his toes.

Abalone safety campaign

Undertaken with Surf Life Saving WA and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the abalone safety campaigns specifically targets abalone fishers to ensure they return home safe after a days fishing.

The campaign includes advertising, editorials, translated articles, safety flyers, various radio interviews, media releases, media events as well as signage and the presence of Surf Life Savers at key fishing locations.

An abalone safety website also plays a prevalent role in the campaign.

Would you like some abalone safety resources for an upcoming workshop or tackle store event? If so, email to let us know.

Multi-lingual material and advertising

Targeting messages to fishers from various ethnic backgrounds are of high priority for Recfishwest due to the number of incidents and fatalities of varying nationalities which have occurred in the past.

Recfishwest has identified Epoch Times Chinese Media, Most WA and Korean Today Media as three partners crucial to spreading the safety messages within WA’s Chinese and Korean community.

These cross-platforms allow direct access to high risk demographic fishers and these partnerships over the past five years has been instrumental in behavioural targeting, audience extension and digital content marketing.

Each year, translated materials are provided to these companies and are disseminated across their platforms during peak fishing times.

Recfishwest will continue to work with ethnic media to ensure key messages are being disseminated effectively and explore options for future partnerships.

Spearfishing videos

Nothing beats a day on the water, except, maybe a day under the water. But shallow water blackouts are something everyone needs to be aware of, and whether it’s spearfishing, free diving or snorkelling, shallow water black-outs can happen to anyone at any depth.

So if you’re just starting out, or a world-champ spearo, shallow water blackouts are a danger you and your dive buddy need to be prepared for.

There’s no one that knows this better than the members from the Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) who have seen far too many divers lost to black-out (one is too many), while others have been injured from boat strikes, marine attacks and other causes.

That’s why the AUF has been working hard to create a number of safety videos aimed to educate and raise awareness among the fishing community about shallow water black-outs.

The videos encourage you to think about and be prepared for:

  • What symptoms to look for with blackouts;
  • Knowing your buddy’s dive profile; and,
  • Performing a shallow water black-out rescue.

These videos have the potential to save lives and greatly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities associated with these breath-holding activities.

With an increased number of people in the water, especially as we head into summer, with fishers diving for crays, snorkelling our beautiful reefs and preparing for abalone season, now is the time to educate yourself and help raise awareness among your mates about shallow water black-outs.

Check out one of the videos on YouTube here. For more on spearfishing safety, visit Fish and Survive.

These videos have been created with the assistance of a Recfishwest Community Grant. Click here to find out more about Recfishwest Community Grants.

Keen spearfisher Bo Davies kept safe while spearing this green jobfish off Exmouth!

State-wide angel ring program

Recfishwest believes everyone in WA should return home safe after spending a day out fishing. At Recfishwest, our service to the community is to lead a statewide approach that develops and promotes initiatives that bring fishers home safe. The angel ring program is an important part of our State-wide Fishing Safety Program.

Angel rings are life buoys, which are designed to keep someone afloat and away from the rocks until help arrives or a rescue can be organised. Angel rings are vital pieces of public safety equipment and should not be tampered with or removed unless being used in a rescue.

With the help and support of local communities, local land managers, local shires and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, more and more angel rings are being installed State-wide at high risk rock fishing locations. There are now 76 angel rings installed across WA.

If you know of a rock fishing location that could do with an angel ring, email to let Recfishwest know.

Seventy-six angel rings are currently installed across the State.

Click here to read how a Recfishwest angel ring was used in a rescue of Sugar Loaf Rock.

Click to view where safety infrastructure has been installed and where you can loan a lifejacket.

Blowholes - Quobba1
Old Boundary - Quobba (south of station)1
High Rock (south of station)1
2 Mile (2 miles north of station)1
Whistling Rock1
The Ledge1
Camp Rock (near Cape Cuvier Coast)1
The Caves1
Quion Head 1
Urchin Point1
West Point1
False Entrance 1
The Fault Line1
The Oven1
Red Bluff 1
Pot Alley 1
Gulch 2
Fishing Club angel ring (separate to program)1
The Point (Contos)1
Slopeys (Contos)1
Merchant Rock (Contos)1
Boranup (North Point)1
Redgate 1
Contos spring1
Gracetown North Rocks (North Point)1
Sugarloaf Rock1
Skippy Rock1
Cape Leeuwin Water Wheel1
Canal Rocks1
Torpedo Rocks1
Round Rock1
Knobby Head1
Cosy Corner1
Salmon Holes2
The Deeps1
Tourist Rock at Cheynes Beach1
Three Stripes at Cheynes Beach1
Maitraya, Nannarup Beach1
Cable Beach, Torndirrup National Park1
Cave Point, Torndirrup National Park1
Blow Holes, Torndirrup National Park1
The Steps, West Cape Howe1
Dunksy’s, (Granite Groper Rock),West Cape Howe1
Bum Rock 1
Flat Rocks Ocean Beach1
McGearys Rock1
Black Hole1
Sinker Bay1
Boat Harbour 1
Lights Beach (Rock Fishing location) 1
Peaceful Bay (Popular Fishing and Boat Launching Jetty - 45km west of Denmark) 1
Twilight Beach2
Wharton Beach1
Quagi Beach2
Starvation Bay2
Thistle Cove1
Hellfire Bay1
Thomas River1
Dolphin Cove (Cape Arid)1
Skippy Rocks1
Dunns Rocks1
Munglingup Beach1
Masons Point1
2 Mile Beach Hopetoun1
Hopetoun Groyne1
Black rocks reserve 1
Native Dog Beach1
Rocky Cairn Reserve1
Fishery Marina Reserve: 1
Point Henry Reserve1
74 locations 78

Rock Anchor Points

Anchor points have been trialed and installed at selected high risk rock fishing locations, mainly throughout the South West and south coast of WA.

Department of Parks and Wildlife, along with Local Government, and community groups, community champions and volunteers have installed 122 rock anchor points at the following locations:

  • Salmon Holes in Albany (six rock anchor points are installed);
  • Esperance (60 in total) at Wharton Beach (three), Quagi Beach (three), Thistle Cove (nine), Hellfire Bay (four), Thomas River (four), Dolphin Cove (three), Dunn Rock (four), Salmon Beach (seven), Chapmans Point (seven) and Wiley Bay (five);
  • South West (56) in Leeuwin – Naturalise National Park including: Rocky Point, Cape Naturaliste, Sugarloaf Rock, Torpedo Rocks, Wyadup, Contos, Boranup (North Point) and Skippy Rock.

To tie up to an anchor point you will need about 10m of rope, length varies depending on site. Use this to tie a bowline knot at the anchor point and check the knot is secure by pulling it.

Using the other end of the rope attach it to a harness or wrap around the waist and secure. Avoid slack in the rope when fishing as waves can still wash you off your feet and onto the rocks. Ensure you are a safe distance from the edge when fishing.

Click here for an information sheet on anchor points in the South West!

There are six rock anchor points installed at Salmon Holes, near Albany.

Old4New with Royal Live Saving WA

Royal Life Saving WA spearhead the “Old4New” program to help educate recreational boaters and fishers on lifejacket wearing and maintenance.

The Old4New program is part of a wider campaign to get people into the habit of putting on a lifejacket each time they go boating.

As part of the initiative, a new inflatable lifejacket, along with educational material, is being provided under a trade-in scheme where people can surrender their old, damaged or obsolete lifejacket for a self-inflating, slim-fitting style lifejacket at a discounted price.

For more information, click here!

Coastal safety flyers

In partnership with the NSW Recreational Fishing Alliance, Recfishwest and safety partners developed a set of key messages related to rock fishing under the campaign “don’t put your life on the line”.

More than 10,000 flyers have been printed in 10 different languages across the years and have been used in face to face education sessions as well as distributed to fishers in the southern WA regions.

Feedback from migrant communities has been extremely positive, with many fishers showing increased understanding of the dangers of rock fishing compared to their initial understandings before the education sessions.

Anecdotal observations and conservations with fishers resulted in fishers preferring to choose from the beach as result of the messaging they had been exposed to.

Recfishwest see multilingual messaging as being an effective intervention strategy for raising awareness of the associated dangers of rock fishing and reducing rock fishing incidents.

Key messages for rock fishing safety

Rock fishing from exposed platforms in poor weather and large swell conditions involves inherent risks and with some of the best beaches in the world here in WA, we recommend you keep the sand between your toes and fish from the beach.

However, if you are going to go rock fishing – awareness of the conditions and good decision-making is absolutely paramount.

Tim Grose, of Recfishwest, fronts the media regarding safe rock fishing.

Our key messages include:


  • Always tell someone where you’re going, when you’ll be back and if your plans change;
  • Wear the right clothes. Light clothing such as shorts and a spray jacket will allow you to swim more freely if you are washed in – waders and jumpers are not recommended; and,
  • Wear appropriate footwear with non-slip soles or cleats suited to the surface you plan to fish from.
Recfishwest Safety Ambassador and experienced rock fisher Gideon Mettam donning his lifejacket while catching harlequin fish from the rocks. Picture: Gido’s Fishing Adventures


  • Ask advice from locals;
  • Never fish alone;
  • Know the area, know the local conditions;
  • Observe first, fish later. Spend time (at least 20 minutes) watching your intended fishing spot to get an idea of the conditions over a full swell/wave cycle. Be prepared for waves twice the height of those observed during this period. If in doubt, don’t fish;
  • Read all safety signage – it’s been placed there for a reason;
  • Wear a PFD. Wear a life jacket or buoyancy vest at all times. Also bring something buoyant (your fishing bucket with its lid firmly clipped on makes a great float) which can be thrown to someone in trouble to help them stay afloat. Carry rope and a torch at all times;
  • Stay alert and don’t ever turn your back on the ocean. If the waves, weather or swell threaten your fishing spot then leave immediately; and,
  • Plan your escape and scan the area and look for the safest place to come ashore should you be swept in. Decide on a quick getaway route from your fishing spot, well above the high tide line should you see a large wave coming.


  • Do not jump in if someone else in washed into the water;  and,
  • Use appropriate Public Safety Equipment and know how to correctly utilise rock anchor points if they are in place at your fishing location. You will need to bring your own rope to tie up; a bowline is the best knot to use. Know where the nearest public safety equipment is – and know how to use it; and,
  • Call triple zero – 000.

Click here to view the rock fishing safety key messages in a one pager.

For different languages see below:


한국어 자막 바위 낚시 안전 비디오를 시청하려면 여기를 클릭하십시오

Để xem một tảng đá hình an toàn cá với phụ đề tiếng việt, nhấn vào đây

For those who are not regular rock fishers or are thinking having a go at it for the first time, we strongly recommend you fish from the beach as a much safer alternative.

Rock fishing safety videos

Don’t Put Your Life on the Line

Chinese Subtitles: (中国的)

Korean Subtitles: (한국의)

Vietnamese Subtitles: (Việt)

Swim and Survive Program in partnership with Royal Life Saving WA

As part of our State-wide Fishing Safety Strategy, Recfishwest has recently partnered with Royal Life Saving WA on their Swim and Survive program to work towards the shared goal of bringing people home safe and reducing drownings in WA.

Knowing what to do in an emergency situation is important, especially if you are in, on or around the water especially during this time of year when abalone, marron and blue swimmer crabs are all on the list for keen fishers this summer.

Enrol in a first aid or CPR course before 31 July 2021 and use the code recfish20 to get 15 per cent off.

Visit the Royal Life Saving WA website here for more information.

Launch of WA-founded Fishing Survival Float

In June 2017, Recfishwest partnered with the Bluewater Freedivers in support of the launch of WA’s own Fishing Survival Float.

The UV resistant survival float is made from high quality materials and can be used a storage grab bag containing all of the things one may need in an emergency situation such as EPIRB, water and flares.

Given the survival float was originally designed to be in the water and has been tested to full immersion, it means that in an emergency situation its strong build and water seal will ensure safety gear remains with the fisher, and not at the bottom of the ocean.

Its 20kg of buoyancy also aids in keeping fishers afloat should they end up in the water.

The Fishing Survival Float was founded in WA.

Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN signs)

The Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) system is a coding system, designed to improve emergency response times by installing signs with unique numbers at beach access points.

These signs will provide specific location information, vital when emergency services are deployed in the event of a rock fishing incident, shark sighting, attack or other beach emergencies.

In an emergency situation, please dial 000 and quote the unique code and location information on the nearest BEN sign.

Signs are primarily located at beach access points determined by the LGA in consultation with DPIRD, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and relevant stakeholders.

BEN sign locations can be viewed on the SharkSmart activity map.

Click here for more frequently asked questions!

*This information has been extracted from the Sharksmart website. For more information about BEN signs and how to be Sharksmart, please visit the website.

Fishing safety ambassador program

In 2017, Recfishwest established a fishing safety ambassador program which seen various high-profile fishers and representatives assist with the flow of information and key messages into local communities.

The ambassadors regularly post safe fishing information on their social media accounts and through their preferred media outlets, with messaging provided by Recfishwest during peak fishing seasons. Recent work has included one ambassador extending our reach to the Chinese community by disseminating safe fishing messages across multi-lingual media including Chinese radio with more than 10,000 listeners.

As social media is a valuable tool in disseminating information to target audiences, Recfishwest see great value in the ambassador program and the potential it has to help bring people home safe.

Ambassadors have shown to be of great influence, with fishers re-purposing their social media posts, sharing with others, tagging their friends and in turn we have seen language adaption and more fishers wearing lifejackets when fishing from the rocks, more people making informed decisions and more people opting to fish from the beach as a much safer alternative.

Recfishwest continues to provide Crewsaver lifejackets to each ambassador every two years and monitor the accounts of the ambassadors to ensure safety is always an element of their fishing experiences within the public spotlight.

Our Fishing Safety Ambassadors

Simon McLernon

Simon McLernon is an avid diver and has been a fisher his entire life. Over the past decade he has been working in a variety of different industries including ship building and subsea engineering and he now works as a Subsea engineer at BHGE. Over 3 years Simon has been volunteering his engineering skills in designing and manufacturing the Bluewater Safety Float which is designed to help increase safety for divers and other boat users. He continues to promote diver safety across his social media and amongst his networks including the Bluewater Freedivers of WA Club, of which he is a member.

Brody Laroux

Brody is Recfishwest’s safety ambassador for crayfishing and currently works for Highland Spirit Charters. With many years of experience in the industry, Brody always portrays positive ways of working on the water, including fish handling and catch care techniques. As a lover of the ocean, and all things fishing, Brody makes an ideal ambassador for all things safety.

Chris and Aron Dixon

Based in Albany, Chris and Aron Dixon are brothers with a passion for rock fishing. They actively promote safe fishing from the rocks and the importance of always wearing a lifejacket, across their ever growing social media platforms (currently at 3300 followers on Facebook). They write for Western Angler Magazine and have also starred in various episodes of iFish alongside TV presenter Paul Worsteling.

Graham Cooper

Not only is Graham an avid fisher, but he has volunteered for the Esperance Volunteer Marine Rescue for 21 years. Graham has also played a huge role in the fishing safety space by educating almost 10,000 school students on the south coast about fishing safety over the last decade. Graham has also been instrumental in leading fishing safety initiatives in Esperance, Ravensthorpe and Hopeton by pushing for public safety equipment, such as Angel Rings and Rock Anchor Points, to be installed at high risk fishing locations along the south coast. Graham is also a Recfishwest lifejacket ambassador for our Fish and Survive campaigns.

Scott Coghlan

Scott is based in Albany and is a big advocate for Fish and Survive and the importance of wearing slimline lifejackets. He consistently communicates safety to a range of audiences across Social Media, Western Angler Magazine, Sunday Times, the West Australian and in face to face activities. Groups of influence include beginner to avid fishers of varying ages across Western Australia. Scott plays a key role in our annual fishing safety campaigns.

Robbie Riches

Robbie runs Perth Fishing Safaris, a local Perth business offering guided rock and beach fishing tours for small groups of fishers chasing mulloway, tailor and more. He is a strong lifejacket advocate across his social media platforms and continually promotes the importance of safety when fishing with all his clients. He’s been an advocate on Channel 10’s Offroad Adventure Show and his land-based fishing business is growing and expanding to include rock fishing safety in the northern and southern regions. He influences school aged children right through to the elderly, teaching people from various demographics and locations across the world.

Allan Bevan

Allan is an active member of the Western Australian Fishing community who is passionate about fisher safety, catch care and preservation of fish stocks for future generations. As a fishing Charter Operator in Fremantle, he takes pride in ensuring people make good decisions in all facets of fishing. Allan influences tourists and locals of varying ages and demographics.

Li Chen

Li Chen is an Edith Cowan University Researcher who strives hard to ensure we have a safe and sustainable fishing environment in WA. She recently investigated the interaction between Chinese immigrants and the Western Australian environment through the practice of abalone harvesting. Li believes by understanding people’s motivations towards abalone fishing, it will help bring people home safe and make them aware of the importance of environmental protection. Li brings knowledge, passion and experience to the Recfishwest Safety Ambassador Team and we look forward to her contribution in annual abalone safety education campaigns.

Juli-Ann and Vince Brozek

All over Australia
Equipped with an off road camper and everything needed for a life on the road, the family from Moseying around Australia are creating memories while catching prized fish as they travel Aus. The parents strive to pass their fishing knowledge onto their two young children while making sure safety is always incorporated into their fishing experiences. Whether that’s wearing a lifejacket when fishing alone, or being croc smart, safety is always an element for this fishing family. The family joins our team as key role models no matter where in state they travel. Welcome aboard guys!

Peter Fullarton

Peter Fullarton runs a landbased fishing tour business called ‘Tailored Treks’ in Lancelin. He teaches fishers 4x4 beach safety and is a great representative for safe fishing from the beach taking into consideration all the elements. When he’s not busy working, Pete often fishes alone from his tinny, targeting species such as tailor, skippy, squid and tuna. Pete says ‘it can be so easy to fall out of a small boat, I am always very careful especially when I am on my own and I make my crew wear a lifejacket if it is rough. I really don’t know why more people don’t wear them, once you put it on you just forget you are even wearing one.

Fabio Varrone

Fabio Varrone is the owner-operator of Fab Fishing & Tours in Denmark, WA. He is a sponsored angler, representing the brands Tonic Eyewear and Doctor Hook Lures. Fab is another one of our fantastic safe fishing ambassadors who promotes the wearing of lifejackets when rock fishing, but also looking after the environment, one another and doing the right thing as fishers. Fab runs a Facebook group called Fishing Western Australia where he brings the community together through information sharing, education and fishing advice to avid and beginner fishers alike.

Gideon Mettam

Gideon Mettam lives in Albany and his known for his Facebook page ‘Gido’s Land Based Fishing Adventures’ which sees him incorporate abseiling into his fishing in order to get to some incredibly isolated spots. After abseiling to a spot, he then ties himself off to anchor points and deep drops for species such as dhueys, pink snaper and groper. Gideon advocates for wearing lifejackets when fishing from the rocks despite your experience level and knowing your own ability. ‘Don’t overdo it and don’t attempt it if you don’t know what you’re doing' he says.

Recfishwest’s safety partnerships include Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Surf Life Saving Western Australia, Royal Life Saving Society Western Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and local fishing communities.