The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) has welcomed Labor’s plans to give $250,000 to safety measures along the Far South Coast, but said more still needs to be done.
If elected, Labor will give money towards a series of bar cameras and boat ramp lights along the Far South Coast.
RFA spokesperson Max Castle said the money was a great start, but the sheer number of fishing spots along the coast would outpace the funding.
“It’ll go a long way to initiating a program in the first instance,” he said. “RFA has an ongoing program of improving safety facilities for both fishermen and boaters.
“We have 19 bars on the South Coast, some of them are open intermittently, and some are open all the time.
“Each one will have to personally analysed, and we'll seek that advice from the community and the local fishing clubs.”
Mr Castle said bar safety was especially important in areas that rely on fishing tourism.
“A good example is Tuross Head where we had a boat overturn not long ago,” he said. “We’re hoping with technology and education, people will check the bar before they leave home.
“We get a lot of tourists around here. They come all this way to fish, and they’re very enthusiastic to wet a line.
“If they have the ability to look at the bar beforehand, it would make everything safer.”
With the advances in technology over recent years, Mr Castle said there was no excuse for someone not to check the bar conditions before going out to ocean.
“In this day and age, everybody is looking at their phones,” he said. “If they’re doing something smart like using that to see what the bar conditions are for the next day, they could potentially save lives.
“We have to get that message out there that the tech is available.”
Mr Castle said boat-ramp lights would also help prevent accidents on the water.
“We’ve got a number of boat ramps that are used at night time, particularly in winter, and you can't see what you’re doing,” he said. “It’s a terrible inconvenience, because a lot of people end up fishing well into the night.
“There’s all sorts of troubles at boat ramps with trying to keep your eye on other people while you’re maneuvering both your boat and vehicle.”
Only Labor has committed to funding at this stage, but Mr Castle said the RFA were working with all major political parties.
“We’ve had a look at issues relating to Marine Parks, commercial fishing, and issues relating to both freshwater and saltwater fishing,” he said. “We’ve published a report that’s available through the RFA Facebook page or website, and that document has gone to all the major parties.
“We have to be bipartisan and make sure everyone has a chance to comment.”