Senior Police Sergeant says fishing safety angel ring saved man’s life at Quobba

A Carnarvon senior police officer at the centre of a risky rescue of a fisher washed off the rocks on our Mid-West coastline said the man would not be alive had he not been kept afloat by an angel ring – installed as part of Recfishwest’s Statewide safe fishing program. 

Senior Sergeant Paul Tolan said the emergency call was raised to Carnarvon Police earlier this month after two brothers fishing north of Carnarvon at Quobba had been washed off the rocks during precarious 3-4m swells.  

One of the fishers somehow managed to clamber back up the jagged rocks before hurling the angel ring installed at Camp Rock towards his 23-year-old brother, who was struggling to keep his head above water having not worn a lifejacket.  

The angel ring helped keep him afloat until a Rio Tinto vessel in the area could be scrambled to pull him from the water 300 metres from shore after he was swept out to sea.  

“If it wasn’t for that angel ring being positioned nearby and thrown out to this man’s aid, he would certainly have drowned in those conditions,” said Senior Sgt Tolan.  

“Safety precautions need to come first when fishing and we would like to see more of these angel rings deployed along the coast. Carnarvon police are frequently called out to rescue situations like this in rough conditions where no one should be fishing in the first place.” 

This angel ring located at Camp Rock/Quobba saved a young man’s life by keeping him afloat after he was washed off the rocks during dangerous conditions earlier this month on WA’s Mid-West coastline.

Rock fishing comes with many risks 

Recfishwest has installed 80 angel rings and deployed 174 loan lifejackets across WA to keep rock fishers safe as part of our WA safe fishing program and partners with the Bureau of Meteorology to share dangerous rock fishing alerts during the spring, summer and autumn months.  

Recfishwest’s Senior Operations and Safety Officer Sam Russell said fishing from rocks comes with many risks, particularly in poor weather conditions and high swell.  

“Even seasoned rock fishers can get caught out by so-called ‘rogue’ waves if not fully aware and prepared,” said Sam. “No fish is worth risking your life for – so unless you have plenty of experience, we recommend you keep the sand between your toes and fish off the beach. 

“However, if you choose to fish from the rocks, we advise you follow our rock fishing safety tips closely – check the weather and swell before you even consider going out, wear the right gear including a lifejacket and never go fishing alone.” 


Tim Meachan, owner of the popular land-based fishing spot of Quobba Station said there are loan lifejackets available to all fishers who wish to wet a line off the elevated cliff platforms. 

“All it takes is one rogue wave to come along and you’re in the water,” said Tim. “Given both of these men were wearing trackpants, heavy work boots and had no lifejackets on, if they both had remained in the water during those treacherous conditions this would have been a recovery mission of two bodies. 

“We are always happy to give out loan lifejackets to fishers at Quobba and you should always be wearing one when fishing off the rocks regardless of the conditions, but when the swell is this dangerous it’s not worth fishing off the rocks at all.”  



Recfishwest led the charge to have more than 80 angel rings and 174 loan lifejackets deployed across WA to keep rock fishers safe, but fishing with a friend, wearing a lifejacket, analysing the conditions on arrival, tethering yourself to the rocks and wearing the right footwear should be the first safety measures when fishing off the rocks.

Fishing Safety – It’s Your Responsibility

With the saddening news of the latest rock fishing fatality at Quobba, Recfishwest is appealing to rock fishers to fish safely, especially during the Winter months.

Our condolences are with the man’s family, who tragically lost his life while fishing from Quobba’s High Rock, after being swept in on August 13.

High Rock – Quobba

Quobba can produce some great land based fishing opportunities, but the risk to you, your friends and family is very high. With vertical cliffs, jagged sharp rocks and big swell, Quobba fishing should only be attempted by people with the right gear and are experienced rock fishers.

Recfishwest has been working with the owners of Quobba Station over the past few months who have recently installed new Angel Rings (Life Rings) at high risk fishing locations along the Quobba coast. We understand that one of the Angel Rings was thrown in a rescue attempt during the incident.

Locations of the Nine Angel Rings recently installed at Quobba are:
Old Boundary
High Rock
2 Mile
Whistling Rock
The Ledge
Camp Rock
The Caves

Angel Rings are not the only safety equipment that can be used at Quobba to ensure you return home safe. Quobba Stationis a location for Recfishwest’s FREE Life Jacket Loan Scheme, where FREE compact fishing life jackets can be loaned for rock fishers. FREE life jackets can also be loaned from Carnarvon Tackle and Marine, and Tel-O-Mac Tackle (Carnarvon).

Some time ago, passionate and safe rock fishers, also installed rock anchor points into the cliffs at Quobba, adding an additional option for rock fishers to tie themselves onto.

Knowing winter serves up rougher weather conditions (particularly on the West Coast), it is a strong reminder that fishers must always consider the dangers when fishing along our coast.

Wearing a slim line life jacket won’t impede on your fishing.

Recfishwest Fishing Safety Officer Bronte Nardi said a lot of people in the WA (and Australian) community are working tirelessly to keep rock fishers safe, now it’s time for rock fishers to help by minimising the risk of them going in the water.

“Over 150 FREE Life Jackets can loaned from a lot WA tackle shops, Angel Rings are being installed by land managers at high risk fishing locations, fishing safety awareness material are being produced – now we need people who fish from rocks to eliminate

Old rock anchor points at Quobba should be used to tie yourself onto whilst fishing.

the risks, prepare accordingly and return home safe,” Ms Nardi appealed.


“It’s never nice hearing the news of a missing fisher, and the feeling was definitely echoed through the community, as the majority of people understand the dangers of rock fishing,” Ms Nardi said.

“Recfishwest are once again stressing the importance of taking personal responsibility of your own safety while fishing, by observing conditions and using appropriate safety equipment.”


If you must fish from the rocks, please follow these simple fishing safety messages:
• Know how to swim
• Wear a life jacket
• Never fish alone
• Observe first, fish later
• Use appropriate safety equipment
• Tell someone your plans

For more Information on rock fishing safety please visit, or