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Rock Fishers Urged to Wear Lifejackets

Rock Fishers Urged to Wear Lifejackets

A double-drowning on Auckland’s rugged west coast re-confirms rock fishing as one of New Zealand’s most dangerous activities.

The notorious coastline has claimed four lives so far this year, yet rock fishers continue to place themselves at risk, failing to heed simple safety advice that could save their life – wearing a lifejacket.

Wearing a lifejacket [or personal flotation device], is the first layer of protection for rock fishers, assisted by rescue equipment and rescue service provided by lifeguards, says Teresa Stanley, WaterSafe Auckland’s Drowning Prevention Manager.

“Since the rock fishing safety project began in 2005 we have seen a noticeable swing towards safer behaviour, particularly around the wearing of lifejackets,” says Teresa, “however clearly this is a message we will have to keep persisting with.”

“One incentive on offer this summer is a $60 discount voucher for an inflatable style lifejacket,” she says. “We urge fishers to take advantage of this as an investment in their own life.”

Vouchers are redeemable for a Hutchwilco, RFD or Safety at Sea lifejacket at selected retailers until March 2009 and will be available from the rock fishing safety advisors, surf lifeguards, Friends of Whatipu, WaterSafe Auckland and Surf Life Saving Northern Region (ph 0800 SAVE LIFE or email experts@lifesaving.org.nz).

The rock fishing safety project is a partnership between WaterSafe Auckland, the Auckland Regional Council and Surf Life Saving Northern Region and is aimed at reducing rock fishing fatalities on Auckland’s west coast beaches.

As in previous years, Asian and Pacific Island language speaking rock fishing safety advisors will be working the coast’s notorious hotspots – Muriwai, Whatipu, Piha, Karekare and Bethells – from January until March.

They will be pushing the lifejacket message as well as offering other safety advice to rock fishers including how to use the angel rings being trialled at the five locations.

The rock fishing safety project stresses the importance of planning and preparation:

• Wear a lifejacket

• Always fish with a buddy

• Check conditions: tide, surf, and weather

• Wear light, warm clothing and sport shoes (not gumboots)

• Take a cellphone, dial 111 in an emergency

• Seek advice about unfamiliar locations from the safety advisors and surf life saving personnel

ENDS

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