Life jacket ready to rock

Cecilia AllenSound Telegraph

Rockingham and Kwinana fishermen are being encouraged to put safety first when rock fishing, with a “revolutionary” new life jacket in the marketing phase.

Halls Head local and experienced fisherman Carl Conway has invented a state-of-the-art life jacket in the hope of saving the lives of rock fishers across Australia.

Mr Conway and co-inventor Brad Devereux founded Soteria LifeJackets in 2014 as a result of designing a new life jacket dubbed the Rockfisher.

“We were concerned at the global statistics of fishermen and women who had died while rock fishing and this prompted us to research further,” Mr Conway said. “The problem with rock fishing is the terrain is dangerous, and apart from the danger of being carried away by a big wave, is people can lose their balance while carrying a lot of equipment.

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“With the Rockfisher, you don’t have to carry anything, so you climb if you need to.”

The Rockfisher comes equipped with a rod holder, small bait board, gimbal, water-activated strobe light, an extra spotlight, waterproof pockets and front and rear D-Ring attachments.

“It is camouflage — usually you would expect red or orange but the problem is people don’t want to use those,” Mr Conway said.

“We’ve come up with a survival hood that gives you the reflective stripes for day and night high visibility. But its main purpose is to prevent water ingestion.”

The jacket also has a crotch strap to stop the jacket coming off in the water.

Mr Conway said the pair came up with the idea after watching a YouTube video of people fishing off the rocks in Hawaii.

“I’m an ex-Royal Naval search and rescue pilot, Brad is a natural innovator and we’re both avid fishermen, so we just started bouncing ideas off one another,” he said.

“Our main motivation was the number of casualties lost to the sport when they could have been prevented.

“It’s a life jacket tailored for Rock fishing but it can also be used for freshwater fishing, lake fishing and people can wear it on the boat if they want.”

Mr Conway said the Rockfisher had been trialled and was now in the marketing phase.

The pair hope to go into production in the next few months, with a Kickstarter campaign to launch next month.

For more information, visit soterialifejackets.com or follow Soteria LifeJackets on Facebook.

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