New Ōpōtiki harbour development allows faster Coastguard response
Last month, Ōpōtiki celebrated the grand opening of its new harbour development which will bring numerous benefits to the region as well as allowing Coastguard Ōpōtiki to respond faster in an emergency.
The redeveloped harbour features two massive sea walls which stretch nearly a kilometre into the sea, protecting the harbour and allowing for larger vessels to enter. The redevelopment is expected to see more recreational boaties heading out to the ocean over the new entrance. The first weekend after opening saw 37 boats going over the channel.
Coastguard Ōpōtiki President Ron Jones said the harbour channel is a gamechanger for the local community, but noted the learning curve between the old sand bar and the new entrance.
“Everyone was used to the sand bar, it was possible to sometimes walk home if you ran aground, but now it’s concrete, not sand. This is a whole new animal that we all need get used to,” he said.
“As a unit, we’ve been across a few times already, sharing our knowledge with the public around the new markers and keeping safe around the machinery.”
Ron said there’s a widespread local awareness campaign on social media, local radio and at local boat ramps, highlighting the changes and detailing how people can keep themselves as safe as possible.
Coastguard Ōpōtiki was joined onboard on opening day by TVNZ, check out the story here: Ōpōtiki harbour development promises economic splash (1news.co.nz)
The unit has already responded to an emergency on the redeveloped harbour, last month assisting a barge with a snapped mooring line due to debris from recent flooding. Four experienced volunteers attempted to support the vessel, but in the rough conditions, the barge beached itself on the western side of the new entrance.
Due to the conditions, Coastguard Ōpōtiki couldn't get close enough to get the people onboard off so contacted Motu Helicopters to assist. As the helicopter also couldn't land its skids on the barge, Coastguard supplied its scoop net to assist retrieving the four people, which was approved by Police. Motu Helicopters then transported all back to the sea wall safely.
Check out Coastguard Ōpōtiki crossing the new bar here.