Coastguard Mana wins Coastguard Rescue of the Year award

Coastguard Mana was honoured with the Mitre 10 Coastguard Rescue of the Year Award at the National Coastguard Awards of Excellence Gala Evening, held in Auckland on Saturday.

After lunch on Tuesday 4 March 2014, volunteers from Coastguard Mana were paged about an incident involving two fishermen in the Cook Strait. The men had set off early that morning to catch tuna in a four metre open runabout when they lost power unsure of their location.

With Cyclone Lusi bearing down from the north, the Coastguard Mana crew departed Mana Marina in search of the men. In six metre seas and with the Interisland Ferries having been cancelled from sailing, the volunteers assessed they had a mission window of three to four hours.

Using sound search techniques, including firing a flare, the crew managed to pinpoint the fishermen in a high risk operation and increasingly treacherous conditions within two hours and brought them to safety averting disaster.

Peter Feely, President of Coastguard Mana Volunteer Unit recalls, “The end result was two fishermen and five Coastguard Mana crew safely returning to base just in time to beat a sharp weather change to heavy rain, high winds and a drop in temperature as Cyclone Lusi made its mark in our area.”

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.

“The Coastguard Mana crew used their training, expertise, dedication and bravery in incredibly challenging conditions to save the lives of these two men while keeping themselves safe. This mission showcases the best of Coastguard and its vision to keep New Zealanders lives safe on the water.”

For the third consecutive year, Mitre 10 is sponsoring a Coastguard national award, and Dave Elliott General Manager Marketing says it is pleased to acknowledge the incredible lengths the Coastguard Mana crew went to in risky circumstances.

“We are proud to sponsor Coastguard’s National Awards of Excellence and be involved in acknowledging their volunteers’ courage and commitment, who routinely put their lives on the line to save others.”

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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