Day or night – Coastguard volunteers answer the call for help

Aotearoa, 17 June 2024 - While most of us were fast asleep on a Saturday at 2am, Coastguard volunteers were miles off the coast, aiding a yacht with damaged sails and dwindling fuel. These dedicated volunteers answered the call without hesitation, navigating pitch-black sea conditions, communication challenges, and exhaustion to bring the injured yachtsman and his faithful canine companion safely home.

One such volunteer, Dylan Baxter was part of the crew that responded to this urgent call for help. Dylan shared, "When we arrived, we saw he had been battling the conditions for some time. The yacht had significant damage, including ripped sails. We immediately boarded to assist with the hook-up and tow, giving him a break. We also conducted a medical check. Once under tow and moving towards Napier at 5-6 knots, he and his dog got comfortable while we towed them home," he said. 

"We maintained communication with our rescue vessel to ensure everything was going to plan. Once tied up at the visitor's berth, we could assess the damaged yacht. It was a long night, but a fantastic outcome that we’re really proud of." 

This selfless act by Dylan and his fellow volunteers highlights the commitment of our 2,128 highly skilled and trained volunteers who are always ready to help - no matter the time of day or weather. 

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we give our thanks to all our volunteers, both on and off the water – from Houhora in the north to Bluff in the south. Their efforts, whether towing vessels through the night, getting out of bed at midnight for a medical emergency, or saving lives when all hope seems lost, are invaluable. 

Coastguard Tautiaki Moana CEO Callum Gillespie said volunteers responded to over 1,250 incidents during summer, marking the busiest season on record

"I'm always struck by the fact that our volunteers are so often ready to stop whatever they're doing, whether it be at work or at home, to go to the assistance of others. Their willingness to sacrifice their time for others is truly extraordinary," he said. 

“We also extend our gratitude to the support crews of our volunteers. The whānau, friends, colleagues, and employers who enable and support them form a vital community behind the scenes. Their understanding and encouragement empower our volunteers to make a significant impact in saving lives on the water.” 

Coastguard Tautiaki Moana is always looking for new volunteers ready to answer the call for their local community. For more information on how you can support your local unit and become one of our community heroes, visit our dedicated volunteering website. 


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