Coastguard Waihi Beach was formed in 1990.
When a local fisherman lost his life in 1989 there were no sea rescue services available in the area.
In 1990 a public meeting was called by local boating people to express concerns about the growing number of boaties and the dangerous Bowentown Bar. A steering committee was formed and in May that year the Waihi Beach Volunteer Coastguard Association Inc (Coastguard Waihi Beach) was established.
Fundraising began immediately for a rescue vessel and in December 1990 the “Waipaopao”, a 6m fibreglass Shark Cat was officially launched. Meanwhile a radio service was being provided from a room in the basement of Bowentown Boating Club.
The need for a building to house the boat and radio operations was the next challenge. In September 1993 work finally began on the current building after a huge fundraising effort. Built in stages with the voluntary input of many the building was officially opened by Lillian Valder in November 1996.
January 1999 saw Waipaopao replaced by Search One a 8.5m Rayglass Protector rigid inflatable. Powered by two 150 hp Yamaha two stroke outboards she was a step up from her predecessor. An upgrade of the motors to 200 hp four strokes in 2003 led to major improvements in fuel efficiency and crew comfort.
2003 was a busy year raising funds for another rescue vessel, Search Two, a 5m jet boat.
2012 saw the building of a new custom built Naiad 9.5 RIB powered by 2 Yamaha 250 hp motors, with the latest Raymarine technology.
Waipaopao Search One