Coastguard – Vessel refit a big focus

It’s been a wet and very windy year so Coastguard activity on the water has been less than normal.

Our Coastguard Hibiscus crew has used this time for important training and operational tasks to ensure that we keep our volunteers skilled up and safe.

We have spent a huge amount of time fundraising for our five-year refit of Hibiscus Rescue 1. Our vessel gets a huge amount of use in some atrocious conditions so can get banged about.  It is important to ensure that our vessel is kept in top physical and mechanical condition to ensure that the service we provide to the public goes without a hitch. The cost of a major refit can exceed $300,000, however to put that into perspective, a new boat would be closer to the $1m mark, so ensuring that we get longevity from our vessel is key.

Hibiscus Rescue 1 was taken out of service in August and the work will take approximately three months to complete. The vessel is stripped right back and fuel tanks removed and tested, along with every other integral part of the vessel. A total rewire is required and that is a mammoth task. It’s a major undertaking and we have had some committee members putting in long hours to get this over the line. 

In the meantime, and thanks to Lotto NZ, we were able to secure a bailment vessel – Joe Hawke Rescue. This allows our crew to continue to serve while the refit is happening.  

Activity on the Waitemata Harbour will increase over the coming weeks.  A lot of boats have sat in driveways over the last nine months and it is imperative to make sure that yours is in ship shape.  

For petrol-powered craft, one of the things to consider, if you are not using your boat for a while, is the condition of the fuel. Petrol deteriorates quickly, becoming ‘stale’ after just a few weeks. Petrol is a complex mixture of different components, each with specific properties that contribute to its performance. These components evaporate at different rates, adversely affecting the way the fuel performs over time.

Problems with stale fuel are especially common at the beginning of a new boating season, when the boat is used for the first time in months. In most cases, the effects are minor: the engine refuses to start or run properly and the voyage is aborted before any damage is done. Sometimes, though, degraded fuel can cause more serious problems requiring costly engine and fuel system repairs, or else result in breakdowns at sea.

Batteries too, if not maintained, can cause issues. Whilst a quick jumpstart can resolve the problem, it is important to maintain your batteries when they are not in use. There are some great products out there to do just that, which extends the lifecycle of a battery as well as keeping costly replacements to a minimum.

I am excited to get back out on the water, as I am sure everyone is. Stay safe, ensure your boat is prepared and enjoy the summer.

Coastguard Hibiscus crew chief