Commercial fishermen, have I think the highest death/injury rate of all occupations.
For amateur fishermen, rock fishing has a very high death rate.
So as a sport, fishing can be high risk activity, yet millions of people survive and rarely have anything untoward happening to them. Add boating/kayaking.
So the major risk is drowning, and that is where lifejacket laws come into play and there are various reasons, why a fisherman/woman may find themselves in the water.
I think it was at Port Albert or somewhere in that region, where two people were found deceased on their boat. If I recall correctly their boat is believed to have hit a channel marker at speed and the occupants suffered fatal injuries.
If by chance a boatie finds themselves immersed in the bay, the temperature of the water is not compatible for life for very long and it is doubtful that the boatie would have been dressed for immersion any way. So hypothermia kills.
Up at Lake Ecumbene, a couples boat was swamped and by misfortune the wind pushed the boat past a point, were if they had made landfall they may have survived, but they spent another few hours in the water with the boat washing up at Seven Gates. They were wearing lifejackets.
There are times, when a person may make a decision that later proves to be fatal.
In 2010 a diver went missing near the wreck of the Cerebus, and the body was later recovered from the wreck.
Over the years, various laws are introduced in an effort to improve safety, not everyone complies.
Safety can be taught, but it is not a requirement for owning a boat/kayak or rock fishing. Bush walkers will use PBL's as does the Yachting brigade.