Bureau of Meteorology
X

About

The BOM Blog gives you the background and insider info on weather, climate, oceans, water and space weather—as well as the latest on the work of the Bureau.

Comments

We welcome participation in the comments section of our blog; however, we are not able to respond to all comments and questions and your comments may take a little time to appear. The blog is monitored from 9 am to 5 pm Monday–Friday.

Our community includes people of all ages and backgrounds and we want this to be a safe and respectful environment for all. To keep the discussion interesting and relevant, please:

  • respect other people and their opinions;
  • keep your comments on topic and succinct;
  • say why you disagree or agree with someone;
  • comment constructively—in a way that adds value to the discussion.

When commenting, please don't:

  • make defamatory, libellous, false or misleading comments;
  • use obscene, insulting, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory or offensive language;
  • post personal information about yourself or others, such as private addresses or phone numbers;
  • promote commercial interests;
  • violate the intellectual property rights of others;
  • violate any laws or regulations;
  • provoke others, distort facts or misrepresent the views of others; or
  • post multiple versions of the same view or make excessive postings on a particular issue.

We won’t publish comments that are not in line with these standards. Blocking/removal of content or banning of users is at our discretion.

There is no endorsement, implied or otherwise, by the Bureau of any material in the comments section. Users are fully responsible for the content they submit.

Commenting is available via a Facebook plugin, which can only be accessed by those with Facebook accounts.

You can contact us at socialmedia@bom.gov.au.

Copyright | Disclaimer | Privacy

X

Contact our social media team at socialmedia@bom.gov.au

Don't get caught out: check the weather before you go rock fishing

Don't get caught out: check the weather before you go rock fishing

Rock fishing is a popular recreational activity but it’s also one of Australia’s most dangerous sports. In fact, on just a small strip of Sydney’s coast, the activity has claimed the lives of 17 people in the past decade. To increase safety along the State’s coastline the New South Wales Government recently announced a 12-month trial of mandatory life jackets for rock fishers in Randwick.

Wherever you’re planning your rock fishing trip in Australia, it’s always important to check the weather and ocean conditions before you go, to help you have a safe and enjoyable experience.


Three vital weather safety checks

The Bureau recommends three vital weather safety checks for rock fishers planning their next fishing trip:

Check when it’s high tide

Using the Bureau's Tide Prediction portal, review the high and low tide times and consider when mid-tide will occur. In most places, mid-tide occurs around 2–4 hours after low tide. Water levels rise quickest during mid-tide—on the rising tide you could get trapped by water rising over the rocks or swept off the rocks by breaking waves.

Check for large waves

Change your plans if hazardous surf messages (provided in New South Wales and southern Queensland) have been issued by the Bureau or the wave heights are too large. Rock fishers should also expect to experience waves up to twice the height of the average values provided in marine forecasts.

Check for strong winds

High wind speed may make the waves rougher, tangle your lines, or push you off wet, slippery rocks.

Image credit: LooksFresh Photography. Courtesy of NSW Government.

When to check the weather

Just looking at a small area over a limited time span can blind you to nearby hazardous weather conditions. Reviewing the Bureau's range of Marine and Ocean information over a larger area and over a longer period can help you better understand the risks. Consider changing your plans if dangerous conditions are forecast nearby.

A few days in advance

A few days before your fishing trip, check the extended weather forecast and the tides to help inform where and when might be the best and safest to go fishing. Coastal waters and local waters forecasts provide details of the wave heights, wave direction and wind conditions around Australia for the next four days.

Image: the Bureau's Marine & Ocean Services homepage.

The night before

Use the Bureau's graphical mapping tool MetEye to visualise the weather forecast and zoom to any location. MetEye provides information on the height and direction of different swell conditions, as well as wind waves and total wave height.

Check the tide times to note when the tide is rising. This is when wave conditions can change rapidly and waves can break onto the rocks without warning. Check low and high tide times every time you fish—tide times change every day and vary at different locations.

Review the coastal forecast again for any updated conditions. Hazardous surf messages are included in coastal forecasts for New South Wales and Queensland when wave conditions are expected to be dangerous for rock fishers and swimmers.

You should also check the Bureau's National Warnings Summary page and ensure there are no warnings in place that might impact the area you plan to go fishing. The Bureau issues Marine Wind Warnings for coastal waters whenever winds reach 26 knots and above. Severe Weather Warnings may also be issued for abnormally high tides, damaging winds and/or damaging surf.

For more information read our guide on how to use MetEye for rock fishing.

Image: check MetEye forecast wind and wave maps.

On the day

When you're out, the Bureau's free mobile app 'BOM Weather', can be used to check for warnings, view the rain radar for current conditions, or to check the forecast for storms.

As recommended by Surf Life Saving Australia, when you arrive at your fishing spot you should also spend some time watching the wind and the waves and talking to other anglers. While fishing, rock fishers need to be vigilant to the potential changes in wave behaviour as the tide rises and falls. Wave and wind conditions can also change quickly on the water’s edge.

Image: the BOM Weather app.

More information

The Bureau's website contains more information about weather safety checks for rock fishing. These pages are also translated into traditional and simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Malay.

The Bureau’s Tide Prediction portal has recently been upgraded to provide predicted tide heights and times for over 700 locations around Australia.

New South Wales Government general safety checks for rock fishing and 12-month trial of mandatory life jackets.

Surf Life Saving Australia's beach safety tips for rock fishing.

Comment. Tell us what you think of this article.

Share. Tell others.