Coastguard FAQs

What does Coastguard do?

Coastguard is a Kiwi institution - a charity, run by volunteers, dedicated to saving lives at sea.

Coastguard volunteers are on call throughout New Zealand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

On the water, anything can go wrong in a very short period of time. Our volunteers will spring to the assistance of anyone in trouble - from assisting people whose boat won't start, rescuing a man overboard, helping a kayaker or surfer in trouble, to responding to an emergency flare, locating a drifting vessel or attending to a medical emergency at sea.


Who is Coastguard?

Coastguard is a not-for-profit organisation. We are a charity that saves lives and we are New Zealand’s primary provider of marine search and rescue services.

Our units are strategically placed along New Zealand's coastline and major lakes and rivers. They are manned by highly trained professional volunteers who dedicate their time to saving lives. Coastguard units consist of vessel crew, communications volunteers, air patrols, incident managers and essential support crew - secretaries, treasurers and fundraisers.


Are you funded by the government?

Coastguard has a service level agreement that provides us with about 15% of the annual funding we need. The remaining 85% needs to be raised from supportive organisations and individuals who recognise the importance of our lifesaving work.


Are you part of the government, Navy or Police?

No, we are a charity concerned with saving lives at sea. Unlike the Coastguard in the USA we are not a security or military organisation, and unlike HM Coastguard in the UK we are not part of the government, and are not a law enforcement agency.

We are a team of professionally trained and organised volunteers who rescue people in danger at sea.


How do your spend your income?

76% of our income is spent on saving lives at sea – see the chart below. The remainder is spent on fundraising, administration and maintaining our small team of paid staff. View our Annual Reports for more detailed information.


Where The Money Goes Pie Graph


I’ve heard of Coastguard membership – what is that?

Coastguard membership is for boaties. It functions rather like an automobile breakdown service, entitling you to free mechanical assistance. Find out more about membership in your area today. 


I’m not a boatie but would like to support Coastguard. How can I do that?

As an individual, you can play a major role in saving lives on the water. You can give a monthly or a single donation, buy a lottery ticket, leave a gift in your will or fundraise for Coastguard. Find out all the ways you can get involved.

If your organisation would like to join our team by providing sponsorship or by making a donation, you’re in good company! Find out more about our wonderful sponsors and how your business can help.

Donate now

Coastguard is a charity. Our volunteers need your help to save lives at sea.

Donate Now

Become a Member

Peace of mind every time you hit the water, knowing we’ve got your back.

Find out how to become a member

Book a Course

Increase your knowledge and confidence by completing a boating course.

Book a boating course
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