After two separate fatal boating accidents on the Waimakariri river bar, a group of volunteers formed the Waimakariri-Ashley Rescue Lifeboat Society in 1978. In 2006 the unit changed its name to Coastguard Waimakariri-Ashley Lifeboat Inc. after becoming affiliated to Coastguard. In 2018 we changed our name to Coastguard North Canterbury to reflect our area of operation.

Initially volunteers used their own jet boats until 1979 with the acquisition of a double ender propeller driven vessel sponsored by Asher Sawmill named ‘Asher I’. As it wasn’t great for bar or river work we replaced it in November 1980 with a jet boat named ‘Asher II’. Unfortunately it capsized twice in 1984 trying to rescue the French yacht ‘Fixen’. ‘Kaiapoi I’ was purchased in 1998, a 6.8m Naiad which was refurbished in 2010. Kaiapoi Rescue was launched in 2019 and is an 8m twin jet Barnett Offshore Design rescue vessel built by Icon Marine. Waimak Rescue is our 3.8m Arancia which we primarily use for swift water rescue work.

Our lifeboat station was opened at the end of 1980, having taken two years of voluntary labour to build. It was refurbished and extended in the 1990’s to house the larger vessel. The 2010 Canterbury Earthquake damaged it beyond repair with a backward lean of over 3 degrees. After temporary shoring it remained in use for two years while a new building was designed and we raised the funds – thanks to Lion Foundation and others. In July 2014 we began the rebuild operating from temporary premises. Our current building was opened in April 2016.


Visit our About Us section for more information on our unit's VesselSponsors and how you can Contact Us.

Legal Name Coastguard North Canterbury Inc
Charity Number    CC46958




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Thanks to our life-saving partners:
  • Auckland Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Hutchwilco
  • Marine Deals
  • Tower
  • Kordia
  • Hyundai
  • Line7
  • Century Batteries
  • Half Moon Bay
  • NZCT
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity