Taking children to the beach to fish or play in the rock pools can be a thrilling and educational day for everyone. Rock fishing is a dangerous activity though, so it is important to be prepared for potential hazards.
When choosing your fishing location, safety must remain at the forefront of your mind. Fish only where you know it is safe and ask the locals if you’re unsure. Stay away from areas that are unsheltered, and avoid rough seas or large waves, as they can knock anyone off their feet.
Planning Your Day
Go fishing in a group. Not only will this ensure a fun day out, but it is much safer too. If someone is washed into the water, have one adult stay and help, while another calls for assistance. It’s a great idea to have a mobile phone handy, and tell a friend where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
Find out the local tide and weather conditions before you go. While packing your sunscreen and towels, keep in mind what you may need for exploring the rocks. Wear light clothing that is easy to swim in, remembering that although it can be cool out in the wind, jumpers become heavy and hard to remove when wet. Wear appropriate footwear to protect feet and prevent slipping, and be sure to take safety gear including lifejackets, a rope and floats, just in case. Lifejackets should be worn by everyone, particularly when venturing close to the water’s edge.
Stay on Your Toes
Watch the tides from the safety of the beach for at least 30 minutes before heading out onto the rocks to fish. The children can play and build sandcastles while you observe the wave patterns. You should also plan a way back to the beach so you won’t be trapped if the tide changes suddenly. Always face the ocean while out on the rocks, even if playing in the rock pools closer to the beach, as it is important to be aware of any changes in water level.
In an Emergency
Do not jump in if someone is washed into the water. Throw them your rope and floatation device to rescue the person. If a small child falls into the water and you have to help them hold the floatation device, do so carefully and without panicking. Make a plan to ensure you are safe to assist the child, without putting yourself in unnecessary danger. Be sure that another adult is available to help you, while someone calls for emergency assistance – either 000 or 112 from a mobile. Once in the water, swim away from the rocks and look for a safe place to go ashore.
To avoid this kind of emergency, do not go too close to the edge of the rocks in the first place, as the sea can be unpredictable, and always keep your wits about you when rock fishing or playing in the rock pools. Have fun, stay safe, and don’t forget to ‘Slip, Slap, Slop’!