Coastguard is the charity that saves lives at sea and is New Zealand’s primary marine search and rescue organisation. Coastguard Northern Region covers the area from Kawhia, around the top of the North Island down to Thames and looks after Coastguard units in communities throughout the region.
With two out of every three calls for assistance to Coastguard in New Zealand happening in the Northern region, a planned 5-year replacement and upgrade programme for Coastguard’s rescue vessels and other life saving equipment is making the region safer for boaties.
Coastguard has taken a strategic approach to rescue service needs, replacing or refurbishing boats and planes, replacing engines and upgrading electronics as required. Regional funding means that Coastguard can work with its local communities and other funders to achieve results far greater than could be achieved with one off projects.
The service now has a 32-strong rescue fleet throughout the region, ranging from a Jet Ski to large ocean-going rigid hulled inflatable vessels. It also runs two fixed-wing spotter planes. Last year alone, the region’s 1,000 Coastguard volunteers directly assisted 4,316 people on the water.
ASB Community Trust aims to provide strategic support at a regional level for rescue services. The priorities are rescue or administration equipment and programme costs, making the Coastguard Northern Region project a strong fit with the strategy.
Funding Coastguard at a regional level allows for the replacement of boats in a priority order and ensures that the right boats are available for local conditions.
This year a $500,000 grant helped continue the fleet upgrade programme.