Stay safe while fishing this winter

Whether fishing from the boat, beach or casting a line from the rocks, recfishers need to make safe fishing a priority and plan for a safe fishing experience particularly in the winter months, says Recfishwest Safe Fishing Officer Alanna Ellison.

Recfishwest Safe Fishing Officer Alanna Ellison urges fishers to put safety at the forefront of every fishing experience.

“Safe fishing should be a focal part of every fishing experience and it is important recfishers make good decisions about how, where and when they go fishing. We want to make sure everyone returns home safely after a day’s fishing – no fish is worth your life,” Alanna said.

Recfishwest promotes and coordinates the State-wide Safe Fishing Strategy and tirelessly promotes the need for safety to be part of every fishing experience.

We provide high quality safety equipment at a low cost and have made significant investments in providing safe fishing infrastructure across the State.

Take stock of risks on the rocks

A string of recent incidents has highlighted how important it is to be prepared when considering fishing from rocks.

Fishing from rocks has many inherent risks – particularly in poor weather conditions and high swell. Sadly, in WA, 37 people have died while fishing from rock platforms since 2002 and every one of these deaths was preventable.

Click here to check out our safe rockfishing checklist

Fishing from the beach is always a much safer option.

“If you’re even slightly unsure about rockfishing, don’t put your life on the line, keep the sand between your toes and stay off the rocks,” Alanna said.

Earlier this month, a recfisher was swept into the ocean at Sugarloaf Rock, Cape Naturaliste, in the South West.

The 28-year-old was wearing a lifejacket, but struggled to stay afloat, before he was successfully rescued by First-Class Constable Rob Gaynor who was carrying a Recfishwest angel ring.

Read more about the Sugarloaf Rock rescue here

The angel ring is one of 76 installed along WA’s coast at high-risk rock fishing locations, under Recfishwest’s State-wide Fishing Safety Program.

Angel rings to the rescue

Angel rings, or life buoys, are designed to keep someone afloat and away from rocks until help arrives or a rescue can be organised.

They have been used in several life-saving rescues since the program was introduced in WA in 2015.

“We’re looking to expand the angel ring program, because we know they save lives,” Alanna said.

See our map of angel ring and free lifejacket loan locations here

Although the angel ring network has improved WA’s safe fishing infrastructure, Alanna said lifejackets are also crucial while fishing land-based or from the boat in tough conditions.

Lifejackets are an essential part of your fishing equipment especially when choosing to fish from the rocks.

“Lifejackets are an essential piece of safety equipment,” she said. “Whether you are boating, kayaking or rock fishing, a lifejacket may save your life.

“We provide Crewsaver Lifejackets at very competitive prices.

“The jackets are designed to be worn comfortably at all times when fishing in case an emergency quickly unfolds. Every cent we make from the sale of these lifejackets goes back into promoting safe fishing.”

Find out more about the Crewsaver range of lifejackets available for purchase on our Fish and Survive website

In addition, Recfishwest is continuing its partnership with community partners and tackle shops across the State to provide free loan lifejackets to improve fishers’ safety.

Fishers can head into 23 tackle stores from Quobba to Esperance and hire a lifejacket for free for the day.

The lifejackets offered for hire are user-activated, requiring the user to pull a toggle to inflate the device when they enter the water.

“It is a free service helping to bring fishers home safe,” Alanna said.

Nothing beats a day on the water when everyone returns home safe after a days fishing.

Don’t get caught out with out-of-date boat safety equipment

Boat fishers should also ensure they consider the safety of themselves and their passengers before spending a day out on the water.

“Before heading out to land a fish of a lifetime, know the conditions and be aware of the weather, swell and tides,” Alanna said.

“Also, let people know your fishing plans, where you’re heading and when you will be back.

“While fishing on the boat, it is crucial to ensure you have the right safety equipment such as life jackets, in-date flares and EPIRB and remember to keep a close eye on the conditions.”

Click here for more tips around safe boat fishing 

Alanna also encouraged all fishers to visit the Fish and Survive safe fishing website for the latest safe recreational fishing information.

“Fish and Survive educates anglers on the potential risks associated with fishing,” she said.

“With information on lifejackets, safety equipment and safety videos, the portal is a really useful resource and safe fishing tool.

“Recfishwest will continue to work tirelessly to promote safe fishing, but everyone needs to take individual responsibility to exercise caution and stay safe while fishing this winter.”

Lancelin Angling and Aquatic Club’s boat safety day

Recfishwest always love an opportunity to connect with the fishing community, and on December 8 we were invited to be part of the Lancelin Angling and Aquatic Club’s first Boat ‘N’ Trailer Day at their Lancelin clubrooms.

The idea of the event was to bring fishers in with their boats and help them keep on top of their trailer, boat and engine maintenance ahead of the coming summer/autumn fishing season.

There was a circuit set up for all the boats and their trailers to be able to cycle through and have their boat inspected by professionals from Big Five Marine who knew what to look for. One lucky boater even had his wheel bearings repacked as part of a demonstration!

It was a great opportunity to have a yarn with all the local fishers who came through the event and it was great to hear they were all very happy with their local fishing opportunities, with many out the morning before pulling pots and bring home a great feed of crays.

The event was also attended by St John WA – Lancelin, the Volunteer Fire Brigade and the passionate Lancelin Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia team. This allowed fishers to meet the kind and energetic emergency service people that have their back if something ever goes wrong out on the water, or even on their way to and from the ramp.

We were also privileged to be shown around the VMR’s new premises after the event and it was inspiring to hear about all the businesses and companies that had rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to help build their new shed and office. We chatted to the vollies about their recent rescue efforts and their beloved vessels they keep in premium condition between rescues. The event shows the Lancelin fishing community is in great shape. Their upcoming John Bray Classic on 27 December is another popular community event and has had over 140 children attend in previous years. It was heartening to see the community coming together to help keep everyone safe, maintain their gear and meet the enthusiastic crews that will be there if all else fails.

Check out the club’s website here to see all the upcoming events and competitions here – http://www.laac.org.au/

Sign the petition to save Canal Rocks boat ramp

Click HERE to sign the petition to save Canal Rocks boat ramp!

The recreational fishing community has been angered over the past few weeks as plans to close an important boat ramp in the South West region became apparent.

Canal Rocks Boat Ramp, near Yallingup, has provided fishers access to important local fishing spots for decades. Recently, however, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is considering closing the ramp, citing safety concerns.

This has been met with anger and frustration from both local and visiting fishers who are set to lose access to one of the South-West’s most loved aquatic playgrounds.

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell who spoke at the rally to hundreds of concerned locals , said the peak body is disappointed not to have been consulted and that all options to keep the ramp open are not being considered.

”We will advocate for the ramp to remain open as it is actually one of the safest ramps in the region and DBCA claims about safety simply don’t add up.”

“The Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions claim this ramp doesn’t meet Australian Standards (exposure to waves greater than 20cm) however, the standards they are choosing to apply are for boat ramps within marinas, not oceanic ramps. If the government applied this standard to all oceanic boat ramps in Western Australia then over 90% of these ramps would be closed. This is simply not acceptable and cannot go unchallenged.”

“While Recfishwest has a strong track record in advocating for fishing safety, we recognise people must take personal responsibility. It is not the Government’s role to protect the community from every conceivable risk, but it is the Governement’s role to provide the basic community infrastructure required to support our culture and lifestyle,” Mr Campbell said.

“The fishing public of Western Australia accept the risks associated with operating a vessel anywhere in our state, including using discretion to assess any ramp for a safe launch and retrieve.”

Recfishwest believe access to high-quality experiences, including fishing, are paramount to the West Australian lifestyle and must be maintained.

Local fisher Glenn Wakelam can’t believe the ramp is being considered for closure.

“This is such a popular ramp during the summer months. On a nice day, it is not unusual to find over 20 trailers in the carpark,” he said.

“Canal Rocks Boat Ramp has been used by the public for decades and the wave height has not changed over that time.

“People aren’t stupid if the swell is too big, they don’t use the ramp.”

Recfishwest has written to the Environment Minister urging him to reconsider this decision but we need your help to ensure the message is heard loud and clear.

What can you do to help?

1. Sign the petition, HERE.
2. Contact your local MP, and tell them how important it is that we have recreational boating facilities around our great state. Whilst you may not launch at Canal Rocks, your local ramp could be next on the list.
3. Tell everyone you know. The more we can let decision makers know how important access to great fishing experiences is to us, the better our chances of a decision in our favour.

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:
Blowholes
Old Boundary
Loopy’s
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, http://recfishwest.org.au/our-services/fishing-safety/ or www.fishandsurvive.com.au

WA Needs More Fishing Heroes!

Our Purpose is to ensure Great Fishing Experiences for all in the WA community forever.
Our Commitment is to Protect, Promote and Develop Sustainable, Accessible, Enjoyable and Safe fishing for the benefit of the community.

Thanks to our current supporters, Recfishwest can continue the fight to keep fishing great in WA.

Our role is to: 
– Be your voice that would not otherwise be heard
– Be the voice of the fish that otherwise goes unheard or ignored
– Keep you informed of all thing affecting your fishing, 24/7; we believe you need to know!
– Strive to ensure you and your family return home safe after a day’s fishing
– Defend your fishing rights when your local fishing spot is under threat
– Fight when access to fishing areas is put at risk
– Roll up our sleeves and find a solution when no one else will.

Contribute to what we do and support us, become a member and let us do the hard yakka on your behalf.  We don’t make profits here at Recfishwest and we make sure all our resources go directly towards our action to protect, promote and develop our fishing environments and to keep you fishing.

To give you an idea of where your support helps us make fishing better:
• Stocking of important recreational fish species around WA, including Pink Snapper, Barramundi, Prawns, Mulloway and Freshwater Trout
• Development, design and deployment of Artificial Reefs in Western Australia
• Development of important fishing research and conservation programs
• Development of WA’s ‘Fish and Survive’ program, to ensure all fishers come home safe after a day’s fishing
• Delivery of WA’s only state-wide fishing clinic program to thousands of kids in both metro and regional areas

A strong membership base allows us to pursue matters that affect your fishing with added confidence knowing you’ve got our back, just like we’ve got yours!

For just 50c per week, you can help us protect and develop fishing experiences in Western Australia, for the community forever.

Our position on mandatory wearing of lifejackets on boats

June 2017

Currently, the WA Department of Transport is conducting a review of recreational boating safety requirements and the public have been asked to put their views forward during the consultation period.

Safety equipment items under review include:

  • lifejackets;
  • distress signals – EPIRBs, PLBs and flares;
  • radios and distress signalling sheets;
  • compasses and GPSs;
  • fire extinguishers; and,
  • miscellaneous equipment (first aid, lighting, paddles, bilge pumps, anchors).

Recfishwest is a key stakeholder and is represented on the Department of Transport’s External Reference Group which provides input from all the relevant water using sectors, including recreational fishing.

One topic that is being widely discussed is the consideration for the mandatory wearing of life jackets on recreational vessels.

 Please see below our position on the issue of the mandatory wearing of life jackets on recreational vessels:

  • We encourage and promote safe fishing experiences for all and equip fishers with the knowledge so they can make their own decision to fish or not to fish (as we do for rock fishing), and we believe this needs to be applied to vessel safety
  • We support increased education campaigns towards vessel owners, of the risks associated with their safety, it’s important that people have good knowledge to make their own informed decisions in specific situations
  • We do not support a blanket approach to make the wearing of life jackets on a boat mandatory

– Fishing in WA offers a large variety of boat and kayak fishing opportunities and simply having one strict rule covering all those situations is not something we support

– Where there’s evidence and statistics to support the wearing of life jackets in high-risk situations such as boat fishing at night or by yourself, like some other states, we would consider this approach instead

– We believe safety comes down to the individual and personal responsibility is the key factor

  • We believe educating boat fishers on the advancement of life jacket technology is important. There are some great slim fitting, compact life jackets that are designed to be worn on the market now, and for a really reasonable price.  Educating the boating public and empowering them to make their own choices is a better approach than making it compulsory

Recfishwest works hard to promote safety and we want to see all fishers return home safe at the end of a day’s fishing.

If you’d like to have your say, please visit the Department of Transport’s survey here.