Kawau Volunteer Coastguard has started urgent fundraising for a $250,000 upgrade to its rescue boat and is inviting the community to “cruise for a cause”.
The boat is 11 years old and is scheduled for a refit later this year to allow volunteer crew to continue their work.
The Kawau unit is hosting a twilight cruise along the Matakana Coast, around Kawau Island, Moturekareka Island and Motuketekete Island, as well as up the Mahurangi River on Thursday, March 25, from 6pm to 10pm.
Tickets are $150 and include a welcome drink, surf n’ turf style buffet and prize entry. It will be limited to 100 passengers.
The cruise is sponsored by Kawau Cruises, Sculptureum, Warkworth Butchery, Schnapper Rock seafood, New World Warkworth and Mediaworks radio.
“Without the community supporting us, we cannot do our job of saving lives at sea,” crewman Paul Steinkamp says.
Kawau Coastguard has been kept busy this summer. It performed 13 rescues between Anniversary Weekend and Waitangi Weekend alone.
In a midweek rescue, crew responded to a father and two small children in distress.
The man could not get his engine started and his boat was drifting onto rocks at the entrance to the Mahurangi River.
Coastguard volunteers got a line to the vessel and transferred the young children to the rescue boat while the mechanical fault was resolved.
The next day, a large steel boat was taking on water and would have soon been lost.
While two crewmen pumped out water, volunteers were able to locate the breach and patch it with copper, wood and wedges.
Kawau Coastguard is entirely operated by volunteers who are provided training by Coastguard New Zealand
Paul says the rescue service is often all that stands between boaties being stranded. Some cases are a matter of life and death.