Coast­guard thanks com­mu­nity

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - IMO­GEN NEALE

Af­ter more than six decades of ser­vice, stal­warts of the East Auck­land com­mu­nity want to say thank you. How­ick Vol­un­teer Coast­guard is hold­ing a pub­lic open day at How­ick Beach Re­serve on Satur­day, Novem­ber 18. From 10am to 2pm the car park at its base will be a hive of ac­tiv­ity, with food trucks, flare demon­stra­tions, chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties, mu­sic, in­for­ma­tion and in­ter­views by East FM. Peo­ple will also have an op­por­tu­nity to ride on the How­ick Res­cue One ves­sel. Spokes­woman Jenny Rowsell says ’’the com­mu­nity was re­spon­si­ble for putting the boat here in the first place, so it’s giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity for what they did 60 years ago’’. ‘‘They fundraised and within nine months of those boys drown­ing, the unit was here. The com­mu­nity did that. We’re try­ing to give back to the com­mu­nity, what they gave to us.’’ How­ick Vol­un­teer Coast­guard was es­tab­lished in 1956 af­ter three lo­cal teenagers drowned. The ser­vice started as part of the How­ick Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade un­der the name How­ick Sea Res­cue. The unit was ini­tially crewed and man­aged by mem­bers of the lo­cal fire brigade. Then in 1984 it be­came the How­ick Vol­un­teer Coast­guard and a mem­ber of the Royal NZ Coast­guard. These days more than 40 East Auck­land vol­un­teers carry pagers, ready to re­spond to call­outs 24 hours a day. ‘‘We’ve got two pager calls. One says ’boat call-out’ - that means some­body has bro­ken down, so the duty crew will go,’’ Rowsell says. ‘‘The other one, ‘ur­gent boat call-out’, means some­body is in trou­ble and once the boat is manned cor­rectly - be­cause we can go with three [crew], how­ever, if it was the middle of the Firth of Thames on a bad night, we’d want seven. ‘‘For that ur­gent boat call-out, our re­sponse time is less than 10 min­utes nor­mally. That’s be­cause ev­ery­one is lo­cal and we pride our­selves on that.’’ The How­ick unit at­tended 150 in­ci­dents last year and while most were lo­cal, their re­mit takes them to the Coro­man­del, Te Atatu and even to North­land wa­ters. Pres­i­dent Alan Martin says ‘‘if we’re the clos­est boat, we’ll go’’. Along with the open day, a book cel­e­brat­ing 60 years of How­ick Vol­un­teer Coast­guard’s ‘‘ad­ven­tures’’ is also be­ing com­piled.

JARRED WIL­LIAMSON / STUFF

Peo­ple will have the chance to ride on How­ick Res­cue One (front) at the open day.

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