Coastguard Northern Region volunteer scoops top honour

Geoff Wilkie from Coastguard Northern Region Communications has been awarded Coastguard Unit Support Volunteer of the Year at the National Coastguard Awards of Excellence Gala Evening, held in Auckland on Saturday.

The Auckland man’s commitment was acknowledged at the prestigious ceremony with peers saying, “Through Geoff’s efforts there have been a resounding improvement in the culture of the Communications Unit.”

Mr Wilkie’s strong leadership skills have been showcased over the past year since he stepped up temporarily in the role of Chair of the Communications Unit, whilst still carrying out his duties as Training Officer and previously as Recruitment and Retention Officer.

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.

David Tommas, CEO of Coastguard Northern Region commented, “Geoff is a quiet achiever who puts others first and is dedicated to our mission to save lives at sea. He has made a massive contribution in raising the quality of training for radio operators while juggling many balls in the air, including the smooth transition during a technology upgrade. Thanks to Geoff’s skills, for the first time in several years, the communications team will have a full complement of 64 well-trained volunteer radio operators this summer.”

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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