Coastguard Lake Brunner’s new rescue vessel a big win for West Coast boaties

Unique Lotto-funded partnership sees ex-America’s Cup chase boat transformed into local lifesaver.

Coastguard Lake Brunner’s ability to respond quickly and safely to callouts has been enhanced significantly thanks to a unique partnership between Lotto NZ, Coastguard and Emirates Team NZ.

The partnership – which is backed by $9.8 million of lottery funding, made possible by the millions of Kiwis who play Lotto NZ games each year – has seen 26 chase boats from last year’s America’s Cup refitted to meet the specific needs of Coastguard units that had been identified as having aging vessels and limited capacity to fundraise.

Lake Brunner has been one of the lucky recipients - and uniquely theirs comes complete with a custom-built FUSO Canter 7164 four-wheel-drive from Keith Andrews Trucks. Together, the new equipment massively enhances the unit’s mobility, enabling them to support search and rescue operations in challenging environments around the west Coast.

Lake Brunner Coastguard President, Nigel Shirley, says the unit has been enjoying getting to grips with the new boat over the last couple of weeks. 

“The crew are absolutely stoked. Not only is the new boat larger and more powerful, it has a semi-enclosed cabin which makes training and operations much more enjoyable in the lake’s changing and often windy weather conditions,” says Shirley.

“We’re really grateful to have benefitted from this partnership - and with our enhanced mobility with the truck and trailer, our community will continue to benefit for years to come.”

Coastguard CEO Callum Gillespie said it was fantastic to see the deserving Lake Brunner unit take ownership of their new FUSO Canter 7164 four-wheel-drive from Keith Andrews Trucks, purpose-built for their new vessel.

"It's fair to say that the Lake Brunner unit operate in one of the most beautiful, but challenging environments in the country. In order to quickly respond to an incident, they must navigate windy and narrow West Coast roads which requires both precision driving and a truck trailer unit that can take the load. As a result of this amazing partnership, Lake Brunner will be able to serve their communities much faster both on the road and across the lakes.”

Lotto NZ Chief Executive, Chris Lyman, says supporting the vital work of Coastguard units like Lake Brunner is what Lotto NZ is all about.

“Lotto NZ exists to generate essential funding for New Zealand communities – it’s why we do what we do. The positive impact these high-spec vessels will have on communities around the country cannot be underestimated, with each one helping Coastguard save countless lives at sea each year. This is a great example of how Lotto NZ is all about Kiwis helping Kiwis."

The refitting of the boats from America’s Cup supporters to lifesavers has been taken care of by original manufacturer, Rayglass, with the support of Coastguard New Zealand, individual units, and various community providers. Vital new additions include stainless steel framework and the full suite of accessories required by a Coastguard rescue vessel, such as flare cameras, loudhailers, flashing lights, radars and cabinetry for pelican boxes, stretchers and first aid kits.

The boats may have now lost their America’s Cup branding, but Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton, says their involvement in this unique partnership remains a source of pride for the whole team.

“Coastguard are the unsung heroes of our waters around the country and so it’s great to see the fleet of vessels that supported us freshly refitted and taking to the water again to help them save lives.”

Coastguard Lake Brunner are planning an official launch and blessing later in the year once the country’s COVID settings allows for a safe event to take place.

Background for editors:

  • In partnership with Lotto NZ, Coastguard and Emirates Team New Zealand, a $9.8 million lottery grant funded 26 vessels to be used during the 36th America’s Cup, before they went on to become part of Coastguard’s fleet of rescue vessels.
  • 100% of Lotto New Zealand's profits are distributed back to the Lottery Grants Board, providing a major source of funding for sport and recreation, arts and culture, environment and heritage and community projects throughout the country. 

About Coastguard

  • Coastguard is a charity powered by over 2,000 volunteers in communities around New Zealand.
  • Coastguard receives 30% of its funding from central government. The other $18 million is raised each year through the support of members, donors, funders and corporate partners.
  • Last year Coastguard volunteers gave 291,402 hours to keeping New Zealanders safe on the water.
  • Volunteer crew on rescue vessels, in our search aircraft and on the end of the radio have been dedicated to saving lives for over 150 years.

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