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New rescue rings for Ballina Shire

Neil Adams is satisfied that, after two years of lobbying, three Angel Ring lifesaving devices have been installed in Ballina Shire at a cost of $400 each.
Neil Adams is satisfied that, after two years of lobbying, three Angel Ring lifesaving devices have been installed in Ballina Shire at a cost of $400 each. GRAHAM BROADHEAD

NEIL ADAMS is a keen rock fisherman, and wants someone to be able to throw something to him to help save his life if he is washed into the water.

The McLeans Ridges man light-heartedly told of his two-yeareffort to have three Angel Ring lifebuoys installed in Ballina Shire, at North Wall, South Wall and Iron Peg at Skennars Head.

He said he felt ‘satisfied’ the rings were now in place, and joked his efforts were purely for ‘self-preservation’.

But there was a tragic storybehind his motivation to get the rings and holding posts put up on January 25.

When he was a child, his uncle was washed off the rocks while fishing at the Sydney suburb ofMalabar, and never seen again.

According to Surf Life Saving Australia, nine people lost their lives in NSW rock fishing accidents from January to October last year.

But the rings could also be used to help if a vessel comes to strife in the Ballina bar.

Just last week in Ballina, three people had a lucky escape when the charter boat they were in capsized at the bar, and eight people were also rescued when two outrigger canoes were swamped by water while catching waves near the bar.

Mr Adams recognises the dangers of rock fishing.

But it is the lure of the big game fish that takes him to the rocks – he has landed a 30kg mulloway from the break wall at Ballina.

“There’s always a random wave,” he said.

“You can have all the right gear, take the right precautions and then a freak wave comes and you wear it.

“And if I fall off a rock, I’d like to have someone there who can throw something at me, nicely.”

Mr Adams is a member of the NSW branch of the AustralianNational Sportfishing Association (ANSA).

He applied to ANSA for the rings to be installed in Ballina, having heard there were other lifesaving devices put up in other spots around the State.

Ballina Shire Council approved the erection of posts which theAngel Rings sit on in 2007, and the NSW Land and Property Management Authority gave the final nod late last year.



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