Coastguard Bay of Islands volunteers lead search for missing diver

Bay of Islands, December 22, 2023 - Last night around 1820, the Coastguard Operations Centre received a report of a missing freediver in the Russell area of Bay of Islands. Coastguard Bay of Islands volunteers immediately responded to this urgent call.

‘Kokako Rescue’ took on-scene command, coordinating an extensive search effort that involved up to 15 private vessels that responded to the Mayday Relay. Their professionalism and clarity of communications were commendable throughout the operation.

Regrettably, despite the efforts made, the outcome was not what we had hoped for. Coastguard extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the individual during this challenging time.

We would like to express our gratitude to all volunteers, responders, and private vessel operators who contributed to the search effort. Their dedication and collaborative efforts were invaluable.


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