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Coastguard volunteers in Northern Region

Published: Thu 7 Feb 2019 04:14 PM
Coastguard volunteers in Northern Region attend to record number of incidents
Coastguard volunteers were kept busy on Waitangi Day responding to a record number of incidents in the Northern Region as thousands of boaties took to the water.
Coastguard rescue vessels and aircraft were dispatched to 50 incidents on Waitangi Day – the most ever recorded in one day for the Northern Region.
In addition, the Coastguard Operations Centre in Auckland received a record 2,458 trip reports and requests for assistance from boaties in the Northern Region alone – with a peak of 280 calls taken between 0700-0800 on Waitangi Day morning, resulting in over 1,000 trip reports being logged before 10am as people made the most of the fine Waitangi Day weather.
"The vast majority of the incidents we attended to, almost 80%, were mechanical in nature with simple break downs and fuel problems upsetting a nice day on the water for some," said Hemi Manaena, Coastguard Northern Region Duty Officer.
"The Coastguard Operations Centre took as many radio calls from boaties in just this single day as we might do over three weeks in winter,” he said.
This follows on from the busy Auckland Anniversary Long Weekend recently, in which volunteers assisted at 74 incidents across the region over the course of the three days (26-28th January). On both public holidays, the majority of incidents occurred in the Hauraki Gulf.
With the fine weather set to continue, it’s a timely reminder for all boaties to follow the Boating Safety Code.
•Life jackets: take them and wear them. Boats, especially ones under 6 metres in length, can sink very quickly. Wearing a life jacket increases your survival time in the water. Also, ensure everyone on board has a lifejacket that fits properly.
•Communications: Take two separate waterproof forms of communication, such as a VHF radio and a cellphone in a waterproof bag.
•Marine weather: Check the local marine weather forecast before you set out, and be prepared for weather and sea state changes.
•Skipper responsibility: The skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board and for the safe operation of the boat. Check over your boat for any damage, get your engine serviced, make sure batteries are holding their charge and the boat is serviceable for heading out on the water.
•Avoid alcohol: Safe boating and alcohol do not mix. Things can change quickly on the water so you need to stay alert and be aware.
Along with mechanical incidents, other search and rescue operations Coastguard volunteers attended to on Waitangi Day included:
o The collision of two vessels near Devonport, volunteers aboard Lion Foundation Rescue and North Shore Rescue assisted the four people needing assistance.
o A boatie was reported overdue over the Waikato Bar, having not closed their bar crossing report and could not be reached. A Coastguard search aircraft and Counties Power Rescue (Waiuku) were tasked to investigate.
o Coastguard Operations tasked Westpac Rescue 2 and NZ Steel Rescue (Waiuku) to search for a person in the water near Hamilton’s Gap, Manukau Heads.

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