Coastguard Northern Region, the charity saving lives at sea, has appointed Robert McCaw, an experienced Royal New
Zealand Navy officer, as its new Head of Operations.
Coastguard Northern Region’s Operations Team manage its Operations Centre in Mechanics Bay, and coordinate responses by
the region’s 24 rescue vessel and air patrol units. Last year the Centre received 115,000 Trip Reports from boaties and
coordinated responses to 2,121 calls for help, ensuring 5,407 people made it home safely.
Callum Gillespie, CEO of Coastguard Northern Region said, “It’s amazing to reflect on the fact that Coastguard is
predominantly powered by volunteers, supported by a small team of permanent staff. We’ve recently been looking at how we
can improve the support to our volunteers and also find ways to continually improve our operational performance. We’ve
taken the bold step of creating a single role that will be accountable for both the over-arching performance of our
Operations Centre, and for the support and coordination that we provide to our life-saving Rescue Vessel and Air Patrol
Of Mr McCaw’s appointment, Mr Gillespie said, “we sought a candidate with a highly credible maritime background and
outstanding strategy and leadership credentials to lead our Operations Team. As such, we’re thrilled to recruit a
candidate of Rob’s calibre.”
Mr McCaw’s previous role was as Executive Officer of the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS TE KAHA and has held a
number of key roles within Navy. He is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute, holds a Master of Science in
Technology degree from Kingston University and Diplomas in Strategic and Defence Studies and Business (Leadership & Management). Robert has also had the distinction of having commanded both the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Offshore Patrol
Vessels, HMNZ Ships Wellington and Otago, leading a myriad of operations including multiple Antarctic patrol periods.
Mr Gillespie said, “As an organisation, Coastguard is in great health but with such a vital mission we’re determined to
keep improving. With this appointment we will continue to build on the existing success of our operations, to ensure the
safety of those on the water.”
Coastguard is the charity saving lives at sea. We provide New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service
through a network of four regions and 71 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand.
Coastguard’s Northern Region covers the area from Thames across to the Mokau River and everything north and is based at
the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre (AMRC) in Mechanics Bay. Last year the Operations Room at the AMRC received nearly
115,000 VHF marine radio calls.
Coastguard’s Northern Region does more than just daring rescues at sea. Generations of dedicated people have established
an organisation that provides a wealth of services to every person using our harbours and beaches:
• Providing a 24 hour a day, 365 day-a-year service.
• Maintaining and operating a regional VHF radio network that enables Coastguard and boaties to share information
and coordinate incident responses.
• Installing and maintaining buoys and beacons to make recreational boating safer.
• Providing a 24-hour continuous weather forecast via marine radio and the Coastguard app.
• Logging trip reports from any vessel able to make radio contact.
• Providing a range of boating education courses to ensure that boaties have a sound knowledge of their boats and
the ‘rules of the road’ at sea.