Hands-free jacket for safer rock fish­ing

Southern Telegraph - - News - Chloe Fraser

Shar­ing a love of ex­treme rock fish­ing, Halls Head lo­cals Carl Con­way and Brad Dev­ereux of­ten find them­selves ma­noeu­vring to re­mote and treach­er­ous lo­ca­tions to fish.

Like many other fish­er­man, Mr Con­way and Mr Dev­ereux were shocked to learn about the amount of avoid­able tragedies that have taken the lives of many rock fish­ers through­out WA and the world.

Hop­ing to lead the charge in fish­ing safety, the pair will launch their new Rock­fisher life jacket next month, in the hope of keep­ing peo­ple safe at prime lo­ca­tions in Rock­ing- ham and along the WA coast.

“Brad and I are both avid fish­er­men. We’ve both had falls, not big ones, but it has hap­pened,” Mr Con­way said.

“We used to take our kayak vests with us, but it was quite dan­ger­ous be­cause you have no bal­ance when car­ry­ing things. With this jacket, ev­ery­thing is on your per­son so you don’t have to worry about car­ry­ing things or go­ing back to your bags — the hands-free ca­pac­ity is the best thing.”

The Rock­fisher jacket is equipped with a rod holder, small bait board, gim­bal, wa­ter-ac­ti­vated strobe light, an ex­tra spot­light, wa­ter­proof pock­ets and front and rear D-ring at­tach­ments. It also has a crotch strap to stop the jacket com­ing off in the wa­ter.

Re­cent data from the Royal Life Sav­ing So­ci­ety WA re­veals 21 per cent of WA’s fish­in­gre­lated deaths in the last five years in­volved rock fish­ing.

About 19 per cent of to­tal drown­ing deaths in WA be­tween July, 2017 and June, 2018 were fish­ing-re­lated, with about half of the in­ci­dents di­rectly re­lated to rock fish­ing.

Con­way, who spent 14 years in the Royal Navy as a search and res­cue pi­lot, said con­sid­er­ing safety while fish­ing was para­mount.

“You can never un­der­es­ti­mate the sea,” he said.

Pic­ture: Ce­cilia Allen

Carl Con­way

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