Volunteers are the Lifeblood of Coastguard

22 June 2015

Volunteers are the Lifeblood of Coastguard

Volunteer Andre Pieterse
Coastguard understands first-hand the invaluable contribution made by volunteers and acknowledges the dedication of those New Zealanders who donate their time to our communities as National Volunteer Week is observed from 21-27 June, 2015.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation. 2,326 Coastguard volunteers give their time and skills to help keep Kiwis safe on the water, and are the reason that last year 7,000 Kiwis were brought home safely. Their dedication and hard work both on and off the water is a true credit to our organisation,” Coastguard New Zealand, CEO, Patrick Holmes says.

“Being a volunteer is a huge commitment and it’s important to recognise and celebrate the role they play in keeping our communities safe at sea - last year Coastguard Volunteers dedicated over 315,000 hours to communities in NZ," says Holmes.

Saving lives at sea is all in a days’ work for volunteer Coastguard skipper Andre Pieterse who enjoys venturing out in challenging conditions.

He has been a member of Coastguards Bay of Island Unit for eight years and began his involvement with regular weekly trainings. Andre has progressed through 24 training modules, gaining qualifications in radio use, radar operation, navigation, engine maintenance, boat handling and maritime rules as well as medical training and he now has his skipper’s ticket.

“I love volunteering and I love making a difference to our community. We train hard under sometimes challenging conditions as usually, it will be early in the morning, or when the worst storms hit that we get called out,’’ Pieterse says.

“I remember one night of high winds and torrential rain when Coastguard crews found themselves responding to approximately 12 different events which all seemed to happen at once” he said.

“It volunteers like Andre that encapsulates the essence of Coastguard. We are fortunate to have an incredibly high calibre of volunteers right across the country and National Volunteer Week provides the perfect platform to recognise and celebrate their work,” said Patrick Holmes

To find more about Coastguard or how to become a volunteer, visit www.coastguard.co.nz

For more information contact:

Monique Caddy
National Communications Manager
Coastguard New Zealand
M: 021 420 653
E: monique.caddy@coastguard.co.nz

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 2,320 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 performed over 2,840 rescues to bring 7,334 New Zealanders home safely this past year. There are 78 dedicated rescue vessels in Coastguard New Zealand’s fleet, nine 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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