​​Rock fishing​​​

Rock fishing is one of the most dangerous sports in Australia. The majority of rock fishing-related deaths in Australia occur in NSW, with an average of eight people losing their lives rock fishing in NSW every year.​​​1

In this section of the Water Safety website you can find information about how to minimise the risks when you go rock fishing, including new laws that make wearing lifejackets compulsory and advice about finding the lifejacket that's right for you.

​New law makes lifejackets compulsory

It is safest to wear a lifejacket whenever you are rock fishing.

A new law that begins in NSW on 1 December 2016 makes it compulsory for anyone who is rock fishing anywhere in the Randwick local government area (including children), and anyone who is helping them rock fish, to wear a lifejacket.

Find out more about the new law.


​What do I need to ​remember when rock fishing?

If you want to rock fish, you should learn how to minimise the risks.

  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Stay alert to the weather conditions
  • Plan an escape route in case you are washed in
  • Never turn your back on the ocean
  • Wear appropriate non-slip footwear and light clothing
  • Do not jump in if someone is washed into the water - call 000 or go and get help
  • Never fish alone

Get more rock fishing safety tips​.


Recreational fishing licences

When fishing in NSW waters, both freshwater and saltwater, you are required by law to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and carry a receipt showing the payment of the fee.

This applies when spear fishing, hand lining, hand gathering, trapping, bait collecting and prawn netting or when in possession of fishing gear in, on or adjacent to waters.

You can pay the licence fee at hundreds of local agents (bait and tackle shops, caravan parks, general stores and service stations); on the internet at www.licence.nsw.gov.au or by phoning 1300 369 365.


'Old 4 New' Lifejacket Upgrad​​​e program

A NSW Government initiative to help continue to drive home the message of wearing modern, comfortable lifejackets while fishing has been expanded to specifically include rock fi​​​shers. 

The 'Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade' van visits boat ramps and other locations to provide advice and guidance on lifejacket styles and maintenance.

Find out more about the Old 4 New program​.

(This link goes to the Centre for Maritime Safety website, part of Trans​port for NSW.)

Information in languages other than English​

Safefishing.com.au has a range of brochures, videos and translated information on rock fishing, freshwater fishing and fishing underwater. Translations are available in Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese.​


1. Surf Life Saving NSW Coastal Safety Report 2016, p.10. See http://www.surflifesaving.com.au/beach-safety/coastal-safety-report

Rock fishing in Randwick​​​​​​

From 1 December 2016, wearing a lifejacket is compulsory when rock fishing anywhere in the Randwick local government area in Sydney.

Find out more about the new law​.

Get the facts

Rock fishing safety tips factsheet [PDF, 213kb]

Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 factsheet [PDF, 257kb]​​​



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