Busy week for Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui including two major incidents

Like many units around the country, Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui continues to have a busy summer out on the water with the unit responding to two major incidents in the past week alone as well as a late-night call-out this morning. 

On Monday, the unit assisted with a submerged, upside-down boat after it flipped on the Tairua bar. Coastguard worked together with Surf Lifesaving personnel to tow the upturned boat from Pauanui to Royal Billy Point, where with the help of the public they righted the boat, pumped it out and got it over the sand bar back to its owner. 

This was followed on Wednesday with Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui supporting three rescue helicopters, police, ambulance, Fire & Emergency New Zealand and the Pauanui Surf Lifesaving Club on an overturned vessel on the Tairua bar. Coastguard’s heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of those involved. 

This morning Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui left base at 1.28am to a report of a vessel adrift with an anchor light on with the informant unsure if anyone was on board. The unit responded and arrived at the vessel near Slipper Island at 1.57am. The crew supported the one person on board to safely anchor back at Slipper Island before returning to base after 3am. 

Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui president Andrew Gibson said a newly formed sand bar has created challenging conditions for boaties around low tide in the area. 

“Even for experienced Coastguard volunteers, the Tairua Bar remains a treacherous bar, especially at or approaching low tide. Marine conditions can change quickly and with sand movement, crossing the bar can be different every time,” Andrew said. 

For boaties in the Pauanui/Tairua area, Coastguard radio broadcasts an advisory service which indicates the conditions on the Tairua bar. The advisory indicates whether the bar is: 

Level 1: normal – free navigation 

Level 2: marginal – navigate with caution 

Level 3: not recommended – navigation is likely to be hazardous. 

Staying safe this summer 

With record numbers of people on the water this summer and the drowning death toll significantly exceeding previous years, Coastguard is calling on all boaties to take a step back before setting out, making sure your vessel is prepared with all the correct safety equipment including PFDs/lifejackets suitable for everybody onboard, you have two forms of communication, you’ve checked the weather for the duration of your trip and you’ve logged a trip report with Coastguard either via the Coastguard App, on VHF or by dialing *500. You do not need to be a Coastguard member to log a trip report, it's a free service we offer to all boaties. 

For boaties crossing a bar, a specific bar-crossing service is available and logging a crossing report is just as easy as a trip report. The key differences are this can only be done by dialing *500 or on VHF radio. Logging a bar-crossing report means a ‘watch’ is set on your crossing and a failure to close out the report will see rescue services immediately activated. This service is free to the boating public and saves lives every year with a recent rescue on the Raglan bar being the most recent example. 

Since Christmas Day, Coastguard has responded to nearly 400 calls for assistance around the country. We are asking all water users to follow these basic safety measures and hold your friends and whānau to account so we can all enjoy a safe summer. 

For Coastguard’s full preparation checklist, including how-to videos, go to boatiesbestmate.nz. 


For more information, contact: 
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor 
[email protected]

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