New boat boosts rescue service
Coastguard Mana is pleased to leave 2014 behind and get its new boat in the water.
For much of last year, its 12.5 metre main rescue boat was out of action after its starboard outboard motor failed.
Then, in August, the outboard motor from the smaller 5.9m Pelorus boat was stolen from Mana Marina. Although it was recovered within 48 hours, it was damaged and was off the water for weeks.
In September the 15-year-old main boat was decommissioned, so Coastguard Mana had just the Pelorus.
‘‘It did mean we were confined to the inner harbour,’’ the organisation’s president, Peter Feely, said. ‘‘It was a very frustrating time because we couldn’t do any training.’’
This weekend, however, Coastguard Mana goes back to being fully operational.
Howick Volunteer Coastguard’s 9.5m rescue boat has a new home at Mana Marina. Feely said a blessing and dropping it into the water would be carried out as part of an open day on Saturday.
The vessel is undergoing work to adapt it to harsh Cook Strait conditions and the five Coastguard Mana masters would need to get new certification, he said.
The boat will be renamed Mana Rescue 1.
‘‘We have one of the most difficult sea environments you can operate in. But having this new vessel means we can get back to proper training and exercises so we’re ready for the real thing.’’
Feely said it was important to note the Howick vessel was only a temporary fix.
A 12.5m, purpose-built rescue boat is desired, but more than $1 million will need to be raised to acquire it.
He is hopeful that might be within the next three years.
Feely said the support of the Porirua public was greatly appreciated during difficult times last year.
A givealittle page raised $2470 and money from the national Coastguard body and Mana Community Grants Foundation made the purchase of the Howick boat possible.
Feely said the public was welcome to attend on Saturday to check out the new rescue boat.
Happy man: Coastguard Mana president Peter Feely with the new rescue boat.