Coastguard crews welcome new boat

The Marlborough Express - 10 June 2013

The Marlborough Coastguard's new rescue boat was named and blessed at an official ceremony at the Picton Emergency Operations Centre on Saturday.

About 30 Coastguard and St John members attended the ceremony led by National MP for Kaikoura Colin King, who christened the 8-metre Naiad, named ‘Port Marlborough Rescue'.

The boat was also blessed by Nativity Church's Rev Derek Harding and Picton Parish leader Father Joe Keegan.

Marlborough Coastguard president Dick Chapman said the name was chosen in recognition of Port Marlborough's support over the past 18 years.

The vessel is powered by two 150hp Mercury outboard motors, has full electronics and will be able to handle most weather the Cook Strait throws at them, Mr Chapman said.

It will be housed on a trailer in the operations centre and will mostly be used for public events, such as multi-sport races, or the Picton Maritime Festival, which requires a rescue boat for safety reasons. This would ensure their main rescue boat would be available for emergencies at short notice, he said.

"It also gives us the ability to drive the boat round to Port Underwood, Havelock or the Wairau Bar if we have to, obviously much quicker than boating around."

The rescue boat was purchased eight weeks ago, and after six weeks of general maintenance and fitting-out it would probably go into service next week, he said.

The Marlborough Coastguard patrols 1640 kilometres of coastline from the Clarence River north of Kaikoura to Stephens Island at the top of d'Urville Island in the outer Marlborough Sounds.

The crew went on 56 missions last year, 75 per cent of them were for medical evacuations.

The organisation is funded through donations and grants from trusts and Coastguard New Zealand. It is run by a team of 30 active members and four new entrants. All of them are volunteers.

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