Busy sum­mer for Coast­guard vol­un­teers

Coastal News - - Front Page -

Coast­guard vol­un­teers have had one of their busiest sum­mer pe­ri­ods in re­cent years with more peo­ple re­quir­ing Coast­guard’s help around New Zealand’s coast­line, lakes and wa­ter­ways.

Easter week­end marks the of­fi­cial end of the sum­mer boat­ing sea­son which so far has seen 121 peo­ple res­cued since Oc­to­ber, 30 more than the same time last year.

In Jan­uary alone there were over 1100 calls for as­sis­tance made to Coast­guard.

“The hot sum­mer has def­i­nitely re­sulted in more peo­ple be­ing out on the wa­ter,” says Coast­guard CEO Patrick Holmes. “Thank­fully the ma­jor­ity of in­ci­dents, es­pe­cially around the peak Christ­mas hol­i­day pe­riod, were for me­chan­i­cal is­sues. Gen­er­ally peo­ple seemed to be fol­low­ing the boat­ing safety code and mak­ing safe de­ci­sions out there.”

Along­side the ves­sel tows and me­chan­i­cal is­sues, vol­un­teers around the coun­try also dealt with some test­ing in­ci­dents which had the po­ten­tial for tragedy. Th­ese in­cluded res­cu­ing stranded mo­torists and res­i­dents in rapidly flood­ing rivers in Can­ter­bury, res­cu­ing a crit­i­cally ill pas­sen­ger from a cruise liner in heavy seas off Auck­land, and most re­cently, man­ag­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and co-or­di­nated res­cue of two yachties in North­land over a sus­tained 35 hour pe­riod.

“Our vol­un­teers are trained to the high­est stan­dards and are sub­se­quently ready to leap into ac­tion 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” says Holmes. “At the end of the day though, they are vol­un­teers with jobs and fam­i­lies — their huge con­tri­bu­tion to en­sur­ing the safety of our boat­ing com­mu­ni­ties this sum­mer should not go un­no­ticed.”

Be­com­ing a Coast­guard mem­ber is another way to keep safe on the wa­ter, whether you break down or get a flat bat­tery, you’ve got peace of mind ev­ery time you hit the wa­ter. Go to www.coast­guard.nz/ mem­ber­ship/ to find out more.

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