General safety tips
- Never go fishing on your own, and always try to go fishing with an adult. There is safety in numbers and one person can always come to the other person’s aid if a dangerous situation develops.
- Always let someone at home know where you are going fishing and approximately what time you will be back. Then if something goes wrong there is a much better chance that help will arrive in the right place and at the right time. Take a charged mobile phone to keep in contact if you have phone coverage.
- Always wear an approved life jacket when in a boat or fishing from rocks.
- Learn to swim. Seeing that fishing involves being on or near the water, it makes very good sense to be able to swim.
- Be careful with sharp knives and hooks.
- Be careful and sensible at all times. No fish is worth putting your well being in danger.
- Keep an eye on the tide and make sure that your tackle box and other equipment are well clear of the highest point that incoming waves may reach.
- Don’t wade out on beaches that have large waves or strong rips.
Fishing lakes, rivers and streams
- Try to avoid steep and unstable banks.
- Keep well back from the edge of fast flowing rivers.
- Avoid wading in and crossing rivers and streams.
- Keep an eye out for snakes when you are near inland waterways.
Fishing rocky coastlines
Rock fishing is Australia’s most deadly recreational pastimes. Unless you are an experienced rock fisher who takes all the necessary precautions we strongly recommend avoiding fishing from rocks.
We strongly endorse the following basic safety tips from Life Saving Victoria at all times when rock fishing:
- Always wear a life jacket
- Never fish alone
- Inform others of your plans
- Wear light clothing and appropriate footwear
- Carry safety gear – carry a rope and a float
- Never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas
- Observe first, fish later
- Plan an escape route in case you are washed in
- Stay alert
- Ask for advice from locals who know the area
Fishing from boats
The lead Government agency for boating safety is Marine Safety Victoria:
We encourage all boat users to follow their advice and mandated safety obligations. The Recreational Boating Safety Handbook is a fantastic resource and all boaties should familiarise themselves with its contents:
Avoiding injuries from fish and other creatures
Some species of fish such as gurnard and cobblers have venomous spines, which can cause severe pain. Never handle a fish if you are unsure that it is safe to do so.
Even the spines on common fish such as flathead and bream can cause wounds, so handle all fish carefully with a wet soft cloth or gloves. Experienced fishers can show you the safest way to handle different species of fish.
Be careful with creatures such as crabs and yabbies, which can inflict painful wounds with their claws.
If you are around rock pools by the sea be wary of the blue-ringed octopus, as its bite can result in death. As a rule, do not handle any small live octopus.