Sutherland Shire Council's ocean safety lifeguards recently took part in a series of rescue exercises to ensure they are ready to respond to rock fishing accidents.
Sutherland Shire Council said the local coastline was a rock fishing blackspot and one of the most dangerous rock fishing areas in Australia.
A council spokesman said figures from Surf Lifesaving NSW showed there had been nine rock fishing fatalities within Sutherland Shire local government area in the past three years.
Sutherland Shire Council's public safety manager Brett Richardson said while the council's highly trained lifeguards were always ready to respond, regular training exercises ensured the team was well prepared when faced with a real emergency.
As part of the recent exercises, lifeguards were called to locate and rescue two dummy rock fishers drifting off the coast at Potter Point, Kurnell.
The dummies were brought ashore for advanced CPR exercises before the 'patients' were handed over to the care of NSW Ambulance personnel.
"Full-scale training exercises like the ones recently conducted at Potter Point play an important role in sharpening up the skills of the council's ocean safety lifeguard team and ensuring everyone knows their role in responding to a real-life emergency," Mr Richardson said.
"We know that with the summer months behind us, one of the most common critical incidents our team will be called upon to respond to is rock fishers who have been swept into the ocean - often in locations that are hard to access - so training exercise like this help ensure we can respond swiftly and hopefully save the life of those in danger."
Proving just how important these exercises are, council lifeguards were called to rescue a lone rock fisher who suffered hypothermia after being swept off rocks.
He was plucked from the water at the exact location where the training exercises were due to take place two days later.
Mr Richardson said this real-life rescue highlighted the importance of rock fishers keenly observing safety precautions. He said it could have been a tragic outcome had the fisherman not been wearing a lifejacket.
"Fortunately, council lifeguards were able to quickly locate and rescue this man before transferring him into the care of NSW Ambulance in a stable condition," he said.
"While it's obviously a great relief that this individual has escaped with only minor injuries, it should serve as a stark reminder of the importance of wearing a lifejacket when rock fishing."
Sutherland Shire mayor Steve Simpson said while the council's lifeguard team was always prepared to rescue those in danger, it was important that rock fishers took every precaution to ensure their own safety.
"Our ocean safety lifeguards are well practiced and highly trained to respond to all manner of incidents on our beaches and in our coastal waters, but it is imperative that those who are intending to take part in high-risk activities like rock fishing take adequate care to keep themselves safe," councillor Simpson said.
"Our beautiful coastline and waterways are there for all to enjoy, but we want to make sure that people do everything they can to keep themselves safe, no matter how they choose to enjoy them."
Key safety precautions all rock fishers should observe include:
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