Fishing has the highest participation rate of any recreational or sporting activity in Australia, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels.

Compared with other recreational activities the risk of injury is low, and the majority of injuries are not serious.

Most fishing injuries are due to cutting or piercing objects, falls or overuse injures. Most injuries occur at a river, creek or lake (37%) or at or by the sea (31%)

Fishing safety tips

Some general safety suggestions to keep in mind whilst fishing include:

  • Never go fishing alone, always fish with someone else.
  • Let somebody know the location of your fishing trip, who you are going with, and an approximate time you will be back. Carry a mobile phone on you at all times.
  • Wear non-slip shoes, and take great care to avoid slipping or cutting yourself on sharp, rocky edges.
  • Carry a first aid kit with you wherever you go fishing.
  • Wear a sun hat, 30+ sunscreen and sunglasses.

Life jackets

  • Life jackets are highly recommended when fishing off rocks, ledges, a riverbank or a boat.
  • Ensure that there is a life jacket available for each person and that they are worn at all times whilst out in the water.

Safe equipment practises

  • Fishing hooks and rods can be dangerous if not handled with care.
  • When carrying your fishing rod make sure the hook is secure and hold the rod parallel to the ground.
  • Fish 10 metres away from the person next to you and ensure there isn’t anyone behind you when you cast.
  • Instruct beginners and children on safe rod and hook procedures.

Choosing a location

  • Find out all safety information about a site before you go fishing.
  • Talk to the locals – they know the best places to fish as well as the dangerous, unsafe areas. Local shops generally provide maps and pamphlets on the safest fishing spots in the area.
A sunset shot of fishermen fishing on a harbour key and observing fishing safety


  • Make sure you have the most up to date local weather information available and be prepared for sudden changes.
  • For coastal locations take particular note of unexpected tidal and swell conditions.

Rock and ledge fishing

  • Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the area where you are fishing, the tidal behaviour, accessibility to the area and an escape plan. If the swell threatens where you are standing leave immediately.
  • Look for secure footholds and stay away from sloping, slippery edges.
  • Always obey danger signs and never turn your back on the sea.

If an injury occurs:

  • Stop fishing immediately if an injury occurs and seek prompt medical treatment.
  • Always carry a mobile phone with you in case of emergency.

Smartplay also provide a more informative article on Rock Fishing located in the feature article section of the Smartplay website.

For more information on fishing safety visit the Play It Safe By The Water website at

Reference: SafeWaters A NSW Government Initiative,