Coastguard volunteer ready to dive into The Big Swim fundraiser!

Dunedin, 25 June 2024 - The Big Swim is fast approaching, with over 950 enthusiastic swimmers ready to dive in and raise funds for Coastguard Tautiaki Moana. Together, they’ve pledged to swim over 15,000 kilometers, approximately the length of New Zealand’s entire coastline! 

Among these inspiring individuals is volunteer Francois Lambrechts. Originally from South Africa, Francois moved to Brisbane in 2007 with his family. Eight years later, their journey towards a cooler, more rural lifestyle brought them to Queenstown, where Francois discovered his passion for volunteering. He joined Hato Hone St John and later Coastguard Queenstown in 2017. 

"I'm a finance professional, so I spend most of my days behind a desk," Francois shares. "Volunteering with Coastguard opened up a whole new world for me, where I could learn about search and rescue operations, Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS), and boating. I am also a Coastguard Instructor." 

Francois's love for the water goes beyond volunteering. In 2019, he joined the Southern Lakes Swimming Club and excelled in open-water swimming. Despite having Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT), Francois has done an Ice Mile (swimming a mile in water under 5 degrees) and will be swimming in the International Ice Swimming Association New Zealand and Southern Hemisphere Pool Championships in Alexandra in July. 

"Swimming has become more than just a hobby, it's a source of joy and a challenge that pushes me to new limits," Francois says. After moving to Dunedin in January 2023, he joined the Sunday Swim Squad and inspires others to swim throughout winter in the Otago Harbour.

This July, Francois has pledged to swim 50 kilometers for Coastguard’s Big Swim. “As a volunteer, I've seen firsthand the critical impact of our work. My support of The Big Swim will ensure we can continue to be there when it matters most," he says.  

Inspired by Francois’ journey? Support him by donating through his fundraising page. To participate, or learn more about The Big Swim, visit 


For more information, contact: 
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard Tautiaki Moana 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