Rock fisher behaviours and perceptions regarding drowning risk assessed by direct observation and self-report: a public awareness campaign evaluation

Birch, Rhiannon, Morgan, Damian, Arch, Jennifer, and Matthews, Bernadette (2022) Rock fisher behaviours and perceptions regarding drowning risk assessed by direct observation and self-report: a public awareness campaign evaluation. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 33 (S1). pp. 399-409.

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Issue addressed: Participants engaged in rock fishing are at risk of drowning. Following coronial investigation of fatalities, a 3-year safety campaign targeting rock fishers was developed in Victoria, Australia. Key campaign messages were wearing lifejackets, not fishing alone, and checking sea and weather conditions. The reported study provides results from a campaign evaluation.

Methods: Evaluation by self-report and direct observation of safety attitudes and behaviours was undertaken pre-and during campaign. Data collections were as follows: (a) online survey of rock fishers recruited from panels, social media and rock fishing networks (n = 350) and (b) rock fisher direct observation and self-report at selected Victorian rock fishing platforms (n = 282; n = 58, respectively).

Results: Safety message recall was reported by 51.7% of rock fishers surveyed online though far fewer recalled campaign key messages. No effect on key safety behaviours or attitudes were detected for fishers on platforms during campaign. Never wearing a lifejacket was reported by 31.8% online, 60.3% at platforms and observed for 97.4%. From direct observation, most participants did not fish alone and checked conditions on arrival.

Conclusion: Campaign evaluation measures showed mixed outcomes. Irrespective, most rock fishers carry high drowning risk through failure to wear lifejackets. Legal mandating of lifejackets for identified high-risk platform is being introduced for Victoria, although careful evaluation is required to detect unanticipated outcomes. Informing future campaign evaluation, complementary methods highlight likely bias in self-reporting through faulty recall or social desirability.

So what?: Future campaigns require innovative or novel design, over longer duration,to capture attention and change rock fisher behaviours.

Item ID: 72651
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2201-1617
Keywords: behaviour change, evaluation methods, injury
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. © 2022 The Authors. Health Promotion Journal of Australia published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australian Health Promotion Association.
Funders: Department of Environment and Primary Industries (now Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) recreational fishing large grants program, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2022 02:47
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420310 Health surveillance @ 30%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420603 Health promotion @ 30%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420604 Injury prevention @ 40%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200401 Behaviour and health @ 20%
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200408 Injury prevention and control @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200599 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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