Safety first and always
  |  First Published: August 2004

THIS month I am going to talk to you about junior angler safety when fishing from the local wharves and rock walls.

Fishing can have its dangers, no matter how old you are, but when younger people are involved close to sharp hooks and knives and are mucking about near the water, there is always the chance of any number of accidents happening.

Hooks and knives are dangerous things and there is always a chance of injuring yourself or others when they are about. Don’t leave either lying about unprotected or you’re asking for trouble.

Keep your knife in its sheath at all times unless you’re using it and be aware of laws relating to knives in NSW. You’re allowed to have a knife for fishing provided you use it only for that purpose. Carry it around at any other times and you can expect trouble with the law.

The safest place for a knife is in your tackle box or bag unless you’re using it.

Hooks are always a problem and it’s wise not to have them lying around where you or others, especially younger kids, can tread on them or pick them up. When re-rigging, take one hook out of its packet and put the rest back in your box or bag and always put used or damaged hooks in the bin.

Some of these injuries may be minor cuts or simple jabs from hooks but, even in calm water, there is also the chance of drowning.

That’s especially a risk if you can’t swim and act stupidly or run around without looking where you are going.

About eight years ago I was fishing in a local creek with a mate. We were sitting on a large boat that was tied up to a wharf when a boat came down the creek and its bow wave made the boat we were sitting on rock.

My mate wasn’t looking or hanging on and he ended up falling in the water. He couldn’t swim and was trying to climb back onto the boat but there was nothing to hold on to and he started sinking.

I was panicking but I put my leg over the side for him to hang onto and at least keep his head out of the water. I sang out as loud as I could and, luckily, a woman heard us and came to help.

My mate got out but we both white with fear after that experience.

Any kids who live near water or like fishing should learn to swim as soon as they are old enough.

Most schools push swimming lessons but if yours does not, ask your parents to get you taught how to at least swim to the shore in case you ever fall in or get pushed in the water.

Junior anglers who aren’t proficient swimmers should always wear a PFD (personal flotation device) when fishing from a boat or a land-based location when there’s a chance of ending up in the water.

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