Coastguard on Skype

By: Dave Tilley

When I sat down to write the last article for Coastguard back in March, who would have predicted the events that have unfolded over the last six months here in NZ and across the world. The various periods of lockdown here in NZ saw just about all boaties kept on dry land for the duration and then with some good weather after lockdown, a rush to get back out on the water to get their salt air fix.

These times have seen the Hibiscus Coastguard unit have a very quiet period with no on the water training possible for long periods and also very limited times when we could have crew together for training.

But, as with many businesses, Coastguard adapted very quickly to the lockdown protocols with many crew undertaking online class room training during this time and administration meeting being held via Skype or other online media. This has meant that unit crew members have been able to complete various levels of class room training required to move through Coastguards training matrix and continue their progression through from trainees to operational crew and then through senior levels with then some looking to progress on further to become Masters and taking responsibility for being a skipper on a Rescue Vessel.

As well as continuing with crew training where we could, there has also been the need to continue with maintenance on our main rescue vessel, Hibiscus Rescue 1, which is now 10 years old. This has seen the boat come out of the water and take a trip down the motorway on a transporter for inspection and certification of the fuel tanks, installation of new navigation systems, partial repaint and install of a new Yamaha Helm Master System.

With the maintenance work now completed and Hibiscus Rescue 1 back on the water we have been able to get crew back on board and continue with training as well as responding to call outs when required.

Since being back on the water over the last few weeks, calls for assistance have seen Coastguard vessels on the water kept pretty busy across the wider Auckland area.

For Hibiscus this included assisting a boat close to Tiritiri Matangi with a group on board who were out enjoying a day on the water for a 10th birthday treat but following a mechanical issue required a tow back to Gulf Harbour boat ramp. Not quite the day they expected, but they were happy for the assistance in getting back home safely.

To finish, just a heads up that Coastguard nationally will be undertaking their Old 4 New Life Jacket promotion again this year and that they will be at Orewa on December 13.

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