Esperance police officer-in-charge advises visitors to heed rock danger warnings at local beaches

Headshot of Madeleine Clark
Madeleine ClarkKalgoorlie Miner
Police are urging visitors to stay off the rocks along the Esperance coastline.
Camera IconPolice are urging visitors to stay off the rocks along the Esperance coastline. Credit: Amber Lilley/Kalgoorlie Miner

Three deaths off Esperance’s deceptive coastline in the past 12 months should be warning enough to stay off the rocks — but each year the town sees an increase of people on the rocks between now and April.

Esperance police officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Chris Taylor is warning visitors to stay off the rocks at the town’s beaches because of the unpredictability of the coast’s waves and slippery black moss which pose risks.

Sen. Sgt Taylor told the Kalgoorlie Miner while police were not seeing an overall increase in the number of people on the rocks year-to-year, they always saw an increase during the peak tourist season during summer.

“The risks involved with (standing on and fishing off the rocks) can be waves washing people off into the water, or secondly they walk on to what we call black rocks (rocks covered in moss) which when wet become very slippery,” he said.

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“Once you slip, you can’t stop and you get washed into the water and it doesn’t matter how good a swimmer you are, depending on the conditions, a lot of people don’t survive, unfortunately.”

Sen. Sgt Taylor said unfortunately a lot of people had headed to the rocks to fish and never arrived back home.

“Just in October, a person lost their life at Twilight Cove,” he said.

“He was fishing on the rocks and somehow has ended up (in the water), whether he’s slipped or a wave grabbed him and pulled him out we’re not really sure.

“There’s been three in the last 12 months, people that haven’t come home just because they wanted to go fishing on the rocks and didn’t survive, so it’s not worth it.”

Sen. Sgt Taylor advised those thinking about going on the rocks to read the many warning signs at the beach and take heed of them.

“A lot of Esperance residents do as much as they possibly can to warn people against being on the rocks,” he said.

“I‘ve seen it numerous times that residents will go and tell somebody ‘don’t fish there, it’s dangerous’ and they’ll either go and keep fishing or just remain fishing and won’t heed the warnings — there are plenty of warning signs.

“There’s plenty of stainless steel latches embedded into the rock for people who have to go fishing — they can tie themselves onto the rock so they don’t get washed away.

“People don’t use them and they don’t listen.

“I’m really not sure what else we can do other than for those visitors who come to fish . . . heed the warnings and go home that day because a lot of people haven’t, unfortunately.”

In the case of an emergency, beach emergency number signs are posted at each beach and are there to assist those calling emergency services.

Whether calling triple-zero or the surf lifesavers, the BEN sign provides a unique code which can be recited over the phone to let responders know the precise location of the emergency.

Sen. Sgt Taylor said the BEN signs were critical in speeding up response times for emergency services.

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