Stay safe while rock fishing this summer

We are blessed with beautiful coastlines in Victoria that make it easy to fish from rock ledges, submerged rocks and rock faces. Whilst rock fishing can provide some great fishing opportunities, there are serious dangers associated with it. Recfishers should take precautions to ensure that rock fishing is enjoyed safely.

To improve rock fishing safety, the Minister for Fishing and Boating approved the implementation of a 2-year mandatory lifejacket trial at ten high-risk rock fishing sites across Victoria earlier this year. The trial commenced in March 2022.  

While the Fisheries Notice requires rock fishers to wear lifejackets at any of the ten high-risk sites, it is highly recommended that recfishers wear a lifejacket at all times when rock fishing. Lifejackets save lives and will help prevent further rock fishing deaths in Victoria.


The Fisheries (Rock Fishing Safety) Notice will require recreational rock fishers to wear a lifejacket when fishing at any one of ten high-risk rock fishing platforms across the State. The objective of this notice is to improve recreational fisher safety at specified rock fishing platforms across the State. The notice came into effect on 1 March 2022. 

For more information, including maps outlining the 10 high-risk locations and details of compliant lifejackets, visit the Victorian Fisheries Authority website

Key aspects of the Fisheries Notice are as follows:

i. Adults rock fishers will be required to wear a ‘Level 50S’ or greater lifejacket (Type 3 or greater) at high-risk sites.
ii. Children under the age of 12 will be required to wear a Level 100 lifejacket (Type 1 lifejacket) at high-risk sites.
iii. Lifejackets must be your correct size, must be in good working order and must be worn correctly (all zippers, buckles and tapes must be correctly secured).
iv. Lifejackets that solely rely on oral inflation will not be permitted.
v. Spear fishers and divers are exempt from the lifejacket requirements at the high-risk sites.

The ten high-risk locations are:

  • Sheoak Falls, near Lorne
  • Punchbowl Rocks, near San Remo
  • Potters Hill Road, near San Remo
  • Pyramid Rocks, Phillip Island
  • Bushrangers Bay, Cape Schanck
  • Cape Schanck lighthouse, Cape Schanck
  • No. 16 beach, Rye back beach
  • Sorrento back beach, near Sorrento
  • Cape Bridgewater blowholes, near Cape Bridgewater
  • Artillery Rocks, near Lorne

See maps below.



For recfishers who enjoy rock fishing, follow these safety guidelines to ensure that you enjoy all the benefits of rock fishing without any of the unnecessary risk.

  • Always wear a life jacket and never fish alone. Inform others of your fishing plans so that search and rescue know where to look if things turn bad.
  • Wear light clothing; appropriate footwear and carry safety gear, a rope and a float are a couple of the essentials.
  • Never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas.
  • Observe first, fish later. This will ensure that you are aware of the conditions you will be fishing in and can properly prepare.
  • Plan an escape route in case you are washed in.
  • Stay alert at all times. Victoria is known for its unpredictability with weather conditions, changing from good to bad in a heartbeat.
  • Ask advice from locals who know the area.

Life Saving Victoria along with stakeholders, VRFish and the Victorian Fisheries Authority, worked on these guidelines through the rock safety project to reduce the amount of drownings as a result of rock fishing. Victorians are incredibly lucky to have such extensive and widespread coastlines that offer some of the most rewarding fishing experiences one can have. 


Before you go rock fishing, it’s important to check the weather via the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The BOM is a great resource where you can check the five vital weather safety checks before you head out rock fishing. 

The BOM’s five vital weather safety checks are:

  1. Wave conditions
  2. Tide times 
  3. Wind conditions
  4. Marine warnings
  5. Changing weather

Visit the BOM’s website for information on using MetEye for rock fishing. Rock fishers can use MetEye to find information on forecast waves, winds and weather for an area or specific locations.

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