I want to volunteer

Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Coastguard.

Without thousands of Coastguard volunteers around the country, New Zealand would have no maritime search and rescue service. Our volunteers give significant amounts of their time every year to provide the primary marine search and rescue service around New Zealand, and have done since ships started arriving on our shores.

Our volunteers are the ones at the sharp end, crewing rescue vessels and aircraft, operating radios, coordinating search and rescue incidents, and saving lives at sea. The vast majority of Coastguard units are run entirely by volunteers, some of whom fill a number of roles and truly are the heart and soul of their local Coastguard service.

Volunteers serve in different capacities depending on their skills, interests and other commitments. Volunteer roles include search and rescue vessel crew, radio operators, pilots, search and rescue coordinators, training officers, and also support and governance positions - Presidents, board representatives, secretaries, treasurers and fundraisers.

How can I help Coastguard?

Most people who volunteer for Coastguard want to make their contribution out on the water. But plenty of opportunities exist to contribute on land, too.

  • Wet Crew – these volunteers are the ones out on the water, making sure New Zealand's boaties stay safe.
  • Communications Team – they’re the main point of contact for boaties as well as our rescue crews. They receive and coordinate emergency incidents, as well as provide informational services such as weather broadcasts.
  • Air Patrol – our two Air Patrol units (in Auckland & Kerikeri) operate Cessna aircraft to assist with area searches. Periodically, vacancies for Air Flight Observer, Air Flight Coordinator and even Pilot come up. This is a great way to contribute if you’re happiest in the air.
  • Administration – you don’t have to be a boatie to get involved, and we always need ‘can do’ people supporting us in the background. If you have skills in administration, financial keeping or fundraising, we would welcome your experience.

What's in it for me?

  • An exciting and challenging role
  • First class Maritime qualifications & training
  • Management & teamwork skills
  • Risk assessment experience
  • Personal development
  • Clear pathways for progression
  • New friendships with like-minded people

All we need from you is your time, commitment and enthusiasm.

Join the team!

"I don't do this to be rewarded. It's a personal thing. Coastguard enhances my skills, and the reward is helping the community and the gratification that comes with helping someone who needs us."

How to apply

Find out how to become a Coastguard volunteer and make a positive difference in your community! 

Coastguard search and rescue volunteers

Discover what it means to be a Coastguard search and rescue volunteer - the sense of reward and camaraderie, the mental and physical challenges and the priceless opportunity to save lives on the water.

Coastguard shore crew volunteers

If you are enthusiastic about Coastguard but would prefer to be part of our shore crew, discover how your passion can be put to good use. Roles such as radio operator, incident controller, secretary and treasurer are all vital to our operation. 

Volunteer stories

Do you want to know what it’s really like to be a Coastguard volunteer? Hear from our people on the ground. 


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

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Increase your knowledge and confidence by completing a boating course.

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