Young skippers receive Masters Certificate at only 20 years old

Identical twins Tim and Ben Tomes from Coastguard Waimakariri-Ashley have just passed the practical exam for their Masters Certificate at only 20 years old. The two brothers have volunteered for Coastguard Waimakariri-Ashley for the past four years, and are the youngest volunteers in their unit to achieve such a high qualification.

Tim and Ben began volunteering for Coastguard when their science teacher at Rangiora High School placed a notice in the school newsletter looking for new recruits. Tim says he saw the notice and thought, “Yep, that’s me. Looks like a good match.” He roped his brother into volunteering and the two have been there ever since.

The twins have been working hard to complete the extensive training Coastguard volunteers go through. They reached a point where they had achieved every level and were able to take the exams for the Masters Certificate - the second highest qualification given to volunteer crew.

The twins weren’t put off by the hard work and time involved in obtaining the very distinguished qualification. In fact, Tim says when it came to reaching the Master level he thought, “Why not? Let’s do it.”

They started to seriously train only a year ago, and just passed their practical exam a few weeks ago. The twins now have the knowledge and experience only a few volunteers share.

Being identical twin brothers, Tim and Ben can be quite competitive with one another. But there’s still a high level of camaraderie between the two, as Tim says volunteering together has strengthened their bond and built their trust in one another.

The brothers consider Coastguard Waimakariri-Ashley to be their second family as everyone knows each other and are incredibly supportive. Tim and Ben were able to learn a lot from their unit, especially from the other skipper who at every opportunity would take the brothers out on the boat to train them.

They also love being part of Coastguard as it gives them the chance to be on call to help others.

“Being on call is a cool thing, to just drop everything and go,” says Tim.

As for the brothers’ future with the unit, Tim says they’re looking forward to advancing even further to become Senior Masters, and want to learn as much as they can and try everything.

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