NSW RFA pleads for common sense regarding life jackets

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Image: NSW Government
Image: NSW Government

A GROUP of experienced NSW fishos is pushing to amend laws forcing them to wear life jackets designed for boating while rock fishing along the Randwick coastline.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the alliance is calling on the NSW state government to amend the new laws to allow rock fishos to wear either a life jacket, life vest or wetsuit while fishing on the rocks.

From November 30th fishos in Randwick Council Area will be fined $100 if they choose not to wear a life jacket that meets Australian Standards.

Malcolm Poole, from the NSW Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), said he was the only rock fisher on a 27-person rock fishing working group set up by the State Government.

“We do not have the appropriate range of life jackets as they are generally designed for boating,” Poole said.

Poole has been rock fishing for 50 years and believes complying life jackets had a natural roll that allowed users to float on their back with their chest and head held above the water but restricted their ability to swim.

He said anglers who were unable to swim should wear life jackets but life buoyancy vests or wet suits were preferable as they allowed anglers to swim if they were swept into the ocean.

President of the RFA, Stan Konstantaras, normally wears a life vest which is actually illegal under the new legislation.

“Rock fishers have been doing their own research and deciding what to wear on the rock for years and won’t be told that their safety gear is inferior based on the views of a policy adviser who has never set foot on a rock platform,” he said.

“The current range of life jackets they are being bullied into wearing by NSW Police, council rangers and Fisheries officers are designed for boats, not rock fishing.

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