Do you want to catch better fish? Be a safer Spearo? Then SPEAR SAFE!

Australian Spearfishing Safety Initiative

About SPEARSAFE

Spear Safe is a national initiative to improve safety for Australian spearfishers. The initiative involves some of Australia’s top divers and attempts to bring together a cohesive view on safety issues involved with spear-fishing.

Spear Safe has the potential to save lives and greatly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities occurring all over Australia associated with spearfishing.
 
Spearfishing is a great activity but like all sports it has its potential dangers which must be properly managed to reduce the risks. We have lost friends due to blackout in the ocean and swimming pools. Others  have suffered severe injury from boat strike, shark attacks and other causes.

This site is designed to raise awareness and provide information on the risks associated with spearfishing with a view to minimising or avoiding future incidents. This website is just part of a multi-pronged approach to disseminate information to the Australian spearfishing community.

A DVD and brochure have been developed. Through the AUF, AUFQ, USFA and Government funding in various states has been made freely available. The DVD and brochure can be found  in many spearfishing  outlets including diving, boating and fishing stores at point of sale. Australian manufacturers of spearfishing gear have also to be provided this material for distribution.  Spearfishing clubs throughout Australia have also received copies of the DVD and brochure for distribution to members and associates.

 The following is to appear in spearfishing magazines promoting 'buddy diving':-

A basic, safety orientated and nationally accredited spearfishing course is currently under development.

The Spearsafe DVD is now available to view online

Part 1 of the Spearsafe DVD is a comprehensive review of spearfishing safely. 

Spearsafe DVD Pt2 - Interview with Alex Lewis

Part 2 of the Spearsafe DVD deals with more advanced speafishing techniques in particular tropical diving and dealing with various species of sharks. 

Erez on Blackout and Samba

 This is an excelent video provided by North Shore Underwater Club of a lecture by Erez Beatus - a world class freediver -containing actual footage of samba and blackout

Brochure - Part1 

Brochure - Part 2

The information and video footage on this site has been a collaborative efftort by the following volunteer organisations:-

AUF (Australian Underwater Federation - Spearfishing);

USFA (Underwater Skindivers & Fishermans Association -NSW).

AUFQ (Australian Underwater Federation - Queensland);

The DVD and brochure are freely available for reproduction. Any organisation worldwide interested in reproducing this information for the benefit of its members please>   click here.

Of course manufacturing and distributing DVD and brochure material is not free and SPEARSAFE are always on the lookout for sponsors willing to assist.

Interested sponsors please > click here.

 

Spearsafe Sticker

 

 

What are some of the risks of spearfishing?

Blackout

Blackout is a major killer of breath-hold spearfishers. It is the result of oxygen starvation at the end of a breath-hold dive. Overexertion during a breath-hold dive is a predisposing factor. Blackout is most likely to occur during ascent and within 10 metres below the surface and shallower. Many blackouts occur within 30 seconds after surfacing. Blackout can occur when breath-hold diving in shallow or deep water... Read more >

Boat / Diver Interaction

Spearfisherman spend a lot of time floating on the surface. Spearfisherman may also be hard to detect whilst under water.

There is a risk of injury from boat traffic. Severe injury or death can occur from propeller strike. There is also the risk of spearfishers being caught in currents and lost at sea. A float/flag alerts boats the presence of a spearfisher in the water.

If a boat is being used it should display a large dive flag whilst spearfishers are in the water. Ensure a boatie monitors the spearfishers in the water. Be on the alert for boat traffic.  Ensure everyone that is to operate to boat holds a boat licence. Always dive with a friend(s) or tell someone where you will be diving and your estimate time of return. Obtain a current weather report for the time that you will be diving... Read more >

Diver / Diver Interaction

 
 

Spearfisherman can be injured by other spearfisherman. In particular there is a risk from a spear gun accidentally discharging and causing injury. There is also a risk from improper use of a speargun (eg incorrect loading techniques and loading out of water)... Read more >

Marine Creatures

The ocean has a diversity of marine life that may harm humans. Sharks, crocodiles and fish may bite; stingrays and jellyfish may sting; some fish, seasnakes, blue ring octopus and cone shells are venomous. Remember that sharks and other marine creatures are a natural part of the marine environment. If in doubt do not touch and get out of the water.
 
The chances of a shark attack are very low and a fatality are about one in a million. However there are some simple tips for safe swimming to help reduce the risk of incidents involving sharks and humans.  Leave the water immediately if a large shark is sighted.  Never swim alone,  dawn or dusk or at night or in murky waters.
 
Fish such as bill fish and barracouta can be aggressive if speared. If large species are being speared there is also a risk of entanglement... Read more >

Rockhopping / Shore Diving

Rockhopping/shore diving involves entering and exiting the water from the shore, often from rocky headlands, and then swimming in the sea, often around the head land. It presents some unique risks for the spearfisherman. Sea conditions, tides, rips, surf, boat traffic are just some risks associated with rock hopping... Read more >

General Health & Fitness

Consideration must be given to the fitness level required for spearfishing. Spearfishing requires a measure of strength and stamina. There are other restrictions on spearfishing can include medical conditions, illnesses such as flu and various medications. General health issues is the biggest killer of breath-hold spearfishers based on the DAN data... Read more >

Competence & Culture

Spearfishers need to be properly informed of the risks involved with the sport - education and training should play a critical role in ensuring that spearfishers are aware of and properly manage risks. There is also perception of the development of a competitive culture (in particular among younger, inexperienced divers) that you must ‘go deeper for longer’ in order to shoot fish. This culture also needs to be addressed... Read more >

Equipment

Having the right equipment whilst spearfishing is not only important for comfort and functionality but also plays an important safety role. Critical spearfishing gear includes mask, snorkel, wetsuit, weight belt, fins, gloves and sock... Read more >

Videos

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Australian Underwater Federation


A.U.F. Spearfishing

Safe Sustainable Selective Seafood

The Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) is a representative body that operates from the national to the local level and covers the sports of spearfishing, scuba diving and underwater hockey. The AUF as an organization provides rules for spearfishing competitions, record keeping, codes of conduct and importantly, representation to government and other community groups. read more>

U.S.F.A.

The Guide to Spearfishing in NSW

Blackout and Samba Video

The USFA is a New South Wales spearfishing body. The association is devoted to the development, promotion and protection of Spearfishing as an ecologically sustainable method of fishing. read more>


A.U.F.Q.

 

The A.U.F.Q. is the Queensland State branch of the Australian Underwater Federation (AUF). read more>

Spearfishing N.Z.

Spearfishing New Zealand look after and reflect the interests of all spearfishers and spearfishing clubs throughout NZ. read more>

Dive Wise

Freediving Education Initiative

Dive Wise was created to answer freedive safety questions. Respected scientists and freedive professionals from around the world guide and contribute to the content on DiveWise to provide the most accurate information available. read more>

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