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Lifejacket law

The Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 (NSW) requires people who are rock fishing in high-risk locations to wear lifejackets. The law starts on 1 December 2016.

The new law will start with a one-year trial of mandatory lifejackets for people who are rock fishing in the Randwick local government area (LGA) in Sydney from 1 December 2016 until 30 November 2017.

During this one-year trial, you MUST wear an appropriate lifejacket whenever you rock fish anywhere in the Randwick LGA. Anyone who is helping you rock fish in the Randwick LGA, as well as children in your care, MUST also wear an appropriate lifejacket.

Keep reading for more information about the new law, including what you need to do to make sure you comply. You can click on a link below to go straight to that part of this page.

Download the map of the Randwick local government area [PDF 1MB].

Why do we need the new law?

The Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 has been introduced to save lives.

In 2015, a coronial inquest into nine rock fishing-related deaths found that safety advice and education had made no difference to the numbers of people who were dying while rock fishing.

The Coroner recommended that lifejackets be made mandatory for rock fishers. This recommendation was supported by the NSW Water Safety Advisory Council.

When does the mandatory lifejacket trial commence?

A 12-month trial of mandatory lifejackets will commence in the Randwick local government area (LGA) on 1 December 2016 and run for 12 months until 30 November 2017. 

How will the Act affect me?

You will need to wear an appropriate lifejacket whenever you rock fish using a rod and line or handline in the Randwick LGA.

Anyone rock fishing with you using a rod and line, or handline in Randwick LGA, or assisting you to rock fish, will also be required to wear a lifejacket.

You must ensure a child under 12 in your care wears an appropriate lifejacket when they rock fish using a rod and line, or handline or assist someone to rock fish.

How will I know that I am in a high-risk rock fishing location? 

As a general rule, if you are fishing from rocks exposed to ocean swell in Randwick LGA, then you will need to wear a lifejacket. It is safest to wear a lifejacket whenever and wherever you are rock fishing.

A map of high-risk locations is shown below.
Download the map of the Randwick local government area [PDF 1MB]

Map of the Randwick area Above: the Randwick local government area, shown in yellow and bordered by the coast to the east and the purple outline to the south, west and north.

Download the map of the Randwick local government area [PDF 1MB]

Why has Randwick LGA been chosen for this trial?

The Randwick coastline is one of the most dangerous rock fishing areas in Australia.

Seventeen people have died while rock fishing in the Randwick LGA in the past ten years.

What happens after the trial?

The NSW Government will review the trial after 12 months and consider whether other high-risk areas should be declared.

What are the penalties for rock fishing without wearing a lifejacket?

There will be a one-year moratorium from 1 December 2016 until 30 November 2017.

This means that fines will not be issued for not wearing a lifejacket when rock fishing in the Randwick LGA for the first year.

This will ensure rock fishers have sufficient time to obtain an appropriate lifejacket.

During the moratorium, rock fishers not wearing a lifejacket will be issued a warning.

From 1 December 2017, fishers will be fined $100 for not wearing a lifejacket while fishing on a high-risk rock fishing platform.

Who will enforce the Act?

The Act permits the NSW Police Force, the Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Local Council officers to enforce the lifejacket requirements of the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016.

How do I know if my lifejacket meets the safety standards?

An appropriate lifejacket:

  • For an adult, must meet Australian Standard AS 4758 level 50S or greater
  • For a child (under 12 years of age), must be level 100 Australian Standard AS 4758 or greater
  • Must be the correct size for the wearer
  • Must be in good condition, and
  • If the lifejacket is inflatable it must not rely solely on oral inflation for buoyancy and must be serviced every 12 months (although a longer service period might apply if specified by the manufacturer).

Find the right lifejacket for rock fishing on the lifejacket page.

Some lifejackets approved under other standards may also meet the requirements.

Find more information about standards approved lifejackets at the Centre for Maritime Safety's website at www.maritimemanagement.transport.nsw.gov.au/
lifejackets.

Wear a Life jacket. Don't risk your life.

​Rock fishing in Randwick​

From 1 December 2016, wearing a lifejacket is compulsory when rock fishing anywhere in the Randwick local government area (LGA) in Sydney. ​Map of the Randwick area

Above: the Randwick local government area, shown in yellow and bordered by the coast to the east and the purple outline to the south, west and north.

Download the map of the Randwick LGA in PDF [1MB].

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

A Guide to safe rock fishing [1.5 MB]

Rock fishing safety tips factsheet [PDF, 213kb]

Arabic​ العربية

Korean 한국어

Simplified Chinese 体中文​ 

Traditional Chinese 繁體中文

Vietnamese Tiếng Vit

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

​​​​​​​​​Arabic العربية

Korean 한국어

Simplified Chinese 体中文​​

Traditional Chinese 繁體中文

Vietnamese Tiếng Vit

Useful links​

Check weather conditions

Old4New lifejacket program​​

Recreational fishing licence​

Safefishing Tips and Resources