New Zealand’s only marine ambulance receives funding boost

Coastguard Marlborough Interisland Rescue 600W

Pub Charity has acknowledged the essential role that Coastguard plays in the lives of New Zealanders, announcing they will grant $100,000 toward Marine 1 - New Zealand’s only rescue vessel and marine ambulance which is to be purpose built to cope with Marlborough Sound’s unique conditions.

The current marine ambulance, which is jointly crewed by Coastguard and St John personnel when called to respond to medical emergencies, urgently needs to be upgraded with a fit-for-purpose replacement.

“The Coastguard provides an important service to the community and we are very pleased to be able to support them by getting behind this project,” said Martin Cheer, CEO of Pub Charity.

“The current marine ambulance is 21 years old which is very old for a rescue vessel. Presently we must transport patients in the bow section, which means a cramped and bumpy ride for the patient. The pace at which we can travel is limited by its age and we can’t guarantee that we will arrive within the ‘golden hour’ – the time that patients need us the most,” said Unit President of Coastguard Marlborough, Dick Chapman.

“With over 1,600 kilometres of coastline along the Marlborough Sounds, and over 1.5 million people visiting the region each year an adequate rescue service is vital for the area. We need to ensure suitability equipped and trained Coastguard and St John personnel are ready to respond in an emergency,” he continued.

Coastguard Marlborough has been working with Naiad, a New Zealand boat design company. Naiad has designed a vessel that will meet Coastguard’s requirement to respond to marine emergencies specific to Marlborough’s unique conditions.
“The proposed plan means the new marine ambulance will be able to operate in rougher conditions, carry more people and provide a better working space for rescue personnel. The vessel will be quicker, enabling rescue personnel to get to those who need help faster and provide a much more comfortable ride for patients,” he said.

Vitally, this vessel will also have a fully equipped ambulance bay situated in the middle section of the vessel that has been designed for greater practicality and safety for both patients and rescue personnel. The ambulance bay will be a mirror image of the interior of a road ambulance.
“Coastguard Marlborough have been working to fund this vital project for the community and as with any not-for-profit organisation, securing funds for these life-saving assets is challenging and we greatly appreciate the support we ‘ve had - but we’re still not there yet,” said Chapman

Coastguard New Zealand is incredibly grateful to Pub Charity for this grant, and also to the Lottery Grants Board for their ongoing support. Along with The Canterbury Community Trust, it provides a welcome boost in helping Coastguard Marlborough raise the over one million dollars needed for its new rescue vessel.

Coastguard Marlborough aims to raise the funds required and have their new boat on the water within the next two years. If you would like to find out how you can support this vital project please contact:
Dominique Leeming
Capital Campaigns Manager
Coastguard New Zealand
M 021 277 2291

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