New coast­guard boat on the way


Work will be­gin on build­ing a new $420,000 Thames Coast­guard boat af­ter two years of fundrais­ing.

Thames Coast­guard will up­grade to a Na­iad 7.3m boat, re­plac­ing the cur­rent 6.8m Na­iad ves­sel the ser­vice has used for more than 16 years.

Plans for the new boat have been fi­nalised and work is ex­pected to be­gin in the next few weeks.

The boat is be­ing built boat builders Al­loy Cats in Mt Maun­ganui and is ex­pected to be launched in March or April next year.

Thames Coast­guard se­nior mas­ter Al­lan Ben­son said there was still about $30,000 left to raise for the boat, how­ever, the ser­vice was con­fi­dent they could raise that amount.

‘‘We’ve had tremen­dous sup­port from a whole lot of peo­ple, we’ve got a long list of peo­ple to thank,’’ he said.

‘‘The com­mu­nity’s got be­hind it, which is good, and it’s a good project to be in­volved in,’’ he said.

Thames Coast­guard pres­i­dent Mike Skeet said the new boat should serve Thames Coast­guard for the next 20 years.

The cur­rent boat will be sold to raise funds for a larger tow­ing ve­hi­cle.

‘‘It is re­ally still in good nick for a pri­vate boat but as a ser­vice boat, it’s start­ing to show it’s age,’’ he said.

The new boat will be called Richard­sons Res­cue, af­ter Richard­sons Real Es­tate pledged $40,000 in spon­sor­ship to se­cure nam­ing rights.

Coast­guard raised the funds through do­na­tions, grants and fund rais­ing. Grants in­clude $200,000 from lot­ter­ies, $40,000 from the Waikato Com­mu­nity Trust, $20,000 from the Lion Foun­da­tion and $10,000 from Grass­roots Trust, among others.

The ser­vice has also raised thou­sands of dol­lars from sell­ing fire­wood at the Thames mar­kets, raf­fles, sausage siz­zles and other fundrais­ers, such as a boat safety pack avail­able for a do­na­tion from Reid Bros in Pollen St.

They also re­cently held their first fish­ing com­pe­ti­tion, which raised about $7000 plus $2000 in do­na­tions.

About 180 peo­ple, in­clud­ing about 25 chil­dren, reg­is­tered for the com­pe­ti­tion, which Ben­son said was held in sunny, calm con­di­tions with only a light sea breeze.

Mean­while, Thames Coast­guard got a Coast­guard Unit of the Year spe­cial merit award in the North­ern re­gion and Whi­tianga Coast­guard won the Coast­guard Unit of the Year award for the Eastern re­gion.

Thames Coast­guard will soon have a new res­cue boat.


Plans have been fi­nalised for the new Thames Coast­guard boat.

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