Canterbury Local Scoops Coastguard Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year Award

Gordon McKay from Coastguard Canterbury Air Patrol has been honoured at the National Coastguard Awards of Excellence Gala Evening, held in Auckland on Saturday.

The Canterbury man’s commitment was acknowledged when he received the Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year Award. Mr McKay holds a number of volunteer roles for Coastguard and has developed exercises instrumental in bridging the gap between air and wet based units.
Mr McKay’s peers have commented that “words such as dedicated and committed do not fully give justice to the service that he does”. He has been at the forefront of development of the Coastguard Canterbury Air Patrol Remotely Piloted Air System, and as its project manager continues its focus as world-leading with innovation and technical skills.

Coastguard New Zealand CEO, Patrick Holmes, says the annual awards honour the brave individuals and units who provide a crucial life-saving service to Kiwis using New Zealand waterways, “These awards celebrate excellence in achievement by Coastguard volunteers across the many roles they undertake in serving both their community and the organisation as a whole. In addition the awards allow us to recognize their dedication and provide an opportunity for acknowledgement at a regional and national level as well as amongst their peers.

Christopher Hentschel, Chairman of Coastguard Canterbury Air Patrol commented, “Gordon’s time and talents in seizing the idea of the Remotely Piloted Air System and making it a reality for Coastguard are to be commended. His loyalty and commitment is second to none and we greatly value his contribution as a highly respected Coastguard Tutor and Regional Instructor.
Gordon’s unit says his advice and support is invaluable to them and he puts his heart and soul into Coastguard Canterbury Air Patrol for the benefit of his community.”

Coastguard keeps people safe on the sea, coastal waters and lakes of New Zealand. It is made up of over 2,300 highly-trained volunteers who put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis to ensure the safety of New Zealanders nationwide. This year Coastguard’s courageous volunteers brought over 7,300 people safely back home and devoted over 315,000 hours to saving New Zealanders lives on the water.

About Coastguard New Zealand:
Coastguard is the charity that provides New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service. The organisation operates from a network of four regions and 70 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand. Coastguard New Zealand is a volunteer organisation with a charitable status. It has more than 2,300 active search and rescue Volunteers who provide over 315,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. Coastguard performs over 2,800 rescues each year assisting more than 7,000 New Zealanders. There are currently 78 dedicated rescue vessels in Coastguard’s fleet, 9 air patrol units and one dedicated communications unit. All crew members on board Coastguard vessels and air patrol craft are trained search and rescue personnel working to enhance the safety of all New Zealanders when they participate in boating and water activities.

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