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.