Coastguard prepares for busy Labour Weekend while Volunteers honoured at National Awards of Excellence


National Awards of Excellence Winners 2015

As Labour Weekend marks the beginning of the busy boating season, Coastguard volunteers have been recognised at the Coastguard New Zealand Awards of Excellence for outstanding contributions to their communities. The annual awards honour the brave individuals and their units who provide a crucial life-saving service to Kiwis using New Zealand waterways. It is also a timely reminder to encourage boaties to get prepared and check their boats before heading out on our seas, lakes and rivers this weekend.

“Last year, Labour Weekend saw Coastguard volunteers bring over 200 people home safely and respond to approximately 80 incidents over the three days. Over fifty percent of these call outs were for mechanical or electrical failures. We recommend skippers get boat engines serviced at least once a year and check batteries, fuel lines, oil, propellers, water pumps and other hardware frequently. Most of these situations could easily have been averted by preparation,” said Coastguard New Zealand CEO, Patrick Holmes.

“We are in the middle of Safer Boating Week – a national initiative involving multiple water safety agencies all working together to raise awareness of safety messages, we encourage boaties to know the rules, check their gear and be prepared. This year alone, over 2,200 Coastguard volunteers will give more than 300,000 hours of their time and bring more than 6,800 people home safely. As a charity, we simply couldn’t achieve these outcomes without our volunteers and their continued dedication to saving lives on the water – but we need boaties to play their part and take responsibility for their own safety too,” said Holmes.

Volunteers and Coastguard units were honoured at the Coastguard National Awards of Excellence, with eight awards presented for their outstanding efforts, loyal service and dedication.

Please click here to see the full list of Coastguard New Zealand Awards of Excellence Winners!

“Our volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and we urge boaties to remember these basic safety messages this Labour Weekend,” said Holmes.

  1. Ensure that there is a life jacket for every person on board that is the correct size and fit.
  2. Check you’ve got your Coastguard Membership sorted – it really is any Boatie’s Best Mate and gives you great peace of mind.
  3. Before you hit the water, always tell someone trustworthy (and preferably Coastguard) where you are going and what your intentions are. If something should happen, it will make the search and rescue efforts more efficient - meaning help will reach you faster.
  4. Check the marine weather forecast before you launch. Coastguard’s NowCasting service offers free reliable and up-to-date information.
  5. Avoid alcohol – safe boating and alcohol do not mix. Things can change quickly on the water and you need to stay alert and aware.
  6. Carry two water proof means of communication, a VHF radio as the primary means is essential and don't forget a backup such as your mobile phone in a water proof case. All vessels should have a VHF radio as the primary means of communication. Make sure you always carry a charged up cell phone as a backup option and keep it safe in a water proof bag.
  7. As the skipper, you are responsible for your vessel and all of the people on board at all times. Make sure all passengers have been given a safety briefing and know what to do in an emergency should anything happen to the skipper. 

Safer Boating Week

  • Hutchwilco
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • NZCT
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity
  • Century Batteries
  • Bellingham Wallace
  • Soudal