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Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, please stay safe.

Read more about Fishing safety

  • Choose a safe place where there are no hazards.
  • Wear a buoyancy vest if you are not a strong swimmer.
  • Be very careful when walking on rocks as they can be slippery, and rogue waves can be unpredictable.
  • Never fish alone and always watch the waves.
  • Be aware of the tides and weather.
  • Wear appropriate footwear, clothing and head protection.
  • Carry a float and line to help anyone washed in.
  • Visit the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW website for more information on staying safe while fishing.

Rock fishing safety

Rock fishing is a potentially risky and dangerous activity. Large waves may appear suddenly and can wash over a rock shelf without warning, sweeping those on rock platforms into the sea.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service does not promote rock fishing. But we recognise that it’s an activity undertaken by some members of the community in coastal parks across the state. Visitors should follow these basic safety tips when rock fishing:

  • Never fish by yourself and never turn your back on the sea or ocean.
  • Wear a life jacket or buoyancy vest, lightweight clothing and appropriate footwear for the conditions.
  • Tell family or friends of your plans.
  • Always spend time watching the conditions before fishing, and scan for changing conditions.
  • Check tides, swell and weather conditions before setting out and never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas.
  • Carry safety gear such as ropes, a float and torches.
  • Note the location of and access to life buoys where they are present.
  • Plan an escape route in case you're washed in.
  • Don't put yourself at risk if someone else is washed into the water.
  • Carry a mobile phone.
  • If you're in doubt, don’t go out.

Rock fishing laws

The Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 was introduced to save lives. If you’re fishing in the La Perouse area of Kamay Botany Bay National Park or Malabar Headland National Park you need to wear a life jacket. This is the law and applies to anyone fishing in the Randwick local Government area.

If other people are helping you to rock fish, including children, they also need to be wearing a life jacket.

For more information on the new law, standards for lifejacket manufacture, and a map of high risk locations in NSW, see the Water Safety NSW website

People fishing from a boat on the river. Photo:David Finnegan