A perfect day almost ended in tragedy

Coastguard Whangamata

For Christine and Brett Henderson, a perfect day out on the water almost ended in tragedy.

Her boys, Beau and Ryan, headed out on the family boat with two friends. They planned to set some cray pots and stay overnight on Mayor Island.

They were never far from Christine’s mind and like any mum she wanted to be sure they were safe and enjoying themselves. She sent them a lighthearted text message, but was chilled by the reply. It said simply “OMG, we’ve hit a rock.”

A deep swell had washed the boat onto a jagged outcrop, tearing a hole in the hull. It started taking on a lot of water and the four friends jumped overboard, into seas cold enough to take your breath away. Very soon the boat sank completely, taking with it all of their gear.

They started to swim slowly towards land, in shock and battling the pitch black conditions and icy water.

Just twenty four minutes after the group abandoned their boat, Coastguard Whangamata arrived in their rescue vessel GJ Gardner Ranger. They hauled the four friends onto the deck of the rescue vessel and brought them safely home.

“It was fantastic that they came to rescue us, we could have been facing a very long cold night on the rocks,” said Beau. Christine told us, “the Coastguard volunteers were amazing. I could have lost my family that night.”

Our volunteers are there when it matters, thanks to your support. Thank you for being a lifesaver!

Find out how you can help save lives by making a donation.


You can read more inspiring stories from Coastguard volunteers by clicking on the links below!

 Connell Couchman Article Two Landing Pic 400

“I am truly indebted to these volunteers.” Read why Connell Couchman supports Coastguard.

Houhora Rescue Article One Main Pic 300 

Three men were lost for sixteen gruelling hours. Find out how your donations brought them home.

 Coastguard Kaikoura Article Three Main 400

They were freezing cold, in shock, and suffering from severe hypothermia. Read how they survived to tell the tale.



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