Coastguard busy as summer boating season kicks off

The busy summer boating season has kicked in with Coastguard Radio receiving 898 trip report and 34 calls for assistance throughout the Northern Region over the weekend.

Coastguard Northern

Alarming is the large number of mechanical breakdowns due to flat batteries and fuel related issues. "There’s been a large jump in the sheer volume of incidents over the weekend. Taking the time to get your engine serviced and replacing fuel that has sat there over winter is well worth it and goes a long way to ensuring an uninterrupted and safe day out on the water" says Johnny Clough, Coastguard Operations Centre.

A trip to Great Barrier turned into a dangerous situation for four boaties late on Saturday evening. Following an alert from Police Coastguard Rescue Vessels from Auckland, Great Barrier and Whitianga were tasked to the aid of a 30ft launch who had drifted onto rocks, become holed and was taking on water near Port Charles in the Coromandel.

Lion Foundation Rescue from Auckland arrived on scene shortly after 0100 hours to find the vessel about 100 metres off rocks with three people on board and were advised that one person from the vessel was missing having been last seen when they entered the water to fend the vessel off the rocks prior the initial call being made to Police. The sinking vessel was barged to a nearby jetty at Port Charles.

With the three passengers now safe and Barrier Rescue arriving on scene the two Coastguard Rescue Vessels then began the search for the missing man. Fire Communications were made aware of the incident and asked to request the local fire brigade to assist in searching the shoreline which they did so until 0430 hours, the Police Eagle Helicopter also joined the search.

With no target located by 0430hours and the knowledge that the missing male had a young family waiting for news at home more resource was called in with Coastguard Whitianga’s NZCT Rescue joining the search and Coastguard Search Aircraft and LandSAR put on standby to join at first light.

At 0640 hours Coastguard Volunteers on-board NZCT Rescue located this missing male ashore, moderately hypothermic but alive and relieved to see the volunteer crew. The patient was then transported to Lion Foundation Rescue to be reunited with his crew and after being warmed up and checked over Lion Foundation Rescue took the disabled vessel undertow back to Auckland arriving some 8 hours later.

"It was an outstanding effort with all agencies working together for the best outcome. The search took 7.5 hours with 20 Coastguard Volunteers responding to the call for help in the middle of the night."

Coastguard launches the ‘Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade’ campaign this weekend kicking off at the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre on Saturday 5th, following by Half Moon Bay Boat Ramp on Sunday the 6th of December. Boaties and members of the public are encouraged to bring along their old lifejackets to trade-in for a significant discount on a new fit-for-purpose quality lifejacket. The campaign forms a key part of Coastguard’s safe boating advocacy and gives boaties the encouragement to ensure they’ve got their gear sorted before hitting the water this summer.

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