Lifejackets for rock fishers – what do you think?

IF THE Marine Rescue guys feel it necessary to wear a life jacket when on the water, one would think those casting a line off the edge of a rock face with waves breaking at their feet would also consider the safety measure.

Iluka/Yamba Marine Rescue unit commander Doug Luckie said he saw rock fishermen and women almost daily perched on rocks wearing no more than a cotton t-shirt.

"We wear life jackets on our vessels even when we're just in the river, but I've never seen anyone wearing life jackets when fishing on the rocks," Mr Luckie said.

A keen fisherman himself, Mr Luckie said he was all for making life jackets mandatory for those who chose to rock fish.

"Luckily we haven't had to fish anyone out of the rocks around here, but I do think (lifejackets) would be a good idea," he said.

"The places where fishermen go around here are reasonably safe, but there are places down near Sydney which are very dangerous."

It comes as the New South Wales Government investigates whether or not to make life jackets mandatory for rock fishers.

A discussion paper published by the NSW Ministry of Police and Emergency Services stated 20 deaths had occurred from rock fishing across the state, with five rock-related deaths. That's second only to swimming in a list of deaths by water sports.

What are your thoughts?

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