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January 25, 2022

New lifejacket law for rock fishing in Ballina Shire

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Fish safe
Fish Safe poster – Ballina Shire Council

After a number of tragedies, rock fishers are now required by law to wear a lifejacket when fishing in the Ballina Shire.

Cheyne Willebrands, Open Spaces Manager at Ballina Shire Council, said ‘People enjoy fishing along the beautiful Ballina coastline but they need to be safe.

‘Rock fishing is a dangerous sport and wearing a lifejacket provides added protection. These new laws mean that wearing a lifejacket is compulsory.’

From 1 July 2020 there will be on-the-spot fines of $100 for anyone not wearing certified lifejackets at high risk locations, including Lennox Headland, Iron Peg, Skennars Headland, Flat Rock, Black Head and Ballina Head.

Children and adults who are assisting others fishing from rocks exposed to ocean swells will also need to wear lifejackets.

Ballina is one of five coastal NSW councils to be declared under the new Rock Fishing Safety Act to enforce this new legislation.

Authorities are also suggesting that rock fishers:

  • wear non-slip footwear and light clothing
  • stay alert to weather conditions
  • plan an escape route
  • never turn their back on the ocean
  • and not fish alone

New signage is going up around Ballina Shire this week.

For further information about the new rules, you can visit http://watersafety.nsw.gov.au/rockfishing.

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  1. Yet another ridiculous law. People are being so protected that they will lose the ability to be responsible for their own safety.

  2. My grandfather was washed out into the sea at Bogangar in the thirties, but fortunately saved by a strong swimmer. A life jacket woukd hand meant he could easily have saved himself. Australia has many such laws and they protect us from harm and reduce the burden on our emergency and health services. The low rates of community transmission of Covid-19 and the good compliance to both the health orders and the advice on it, shows that notwithstanding the framework of protective law, most Australians have not lost the ability to look after their health and safety.


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