INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Initiative To Boost Safety On Water

Published: Tue 19 Sep 2000 05:51 PM
NEW INITIATIVE TO BOOST SAFETY ON WATER
Greater safety for recreational boaters is amongst the goals of a new membership scheme developed by the Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation.
Launched yesterday (Monday), the scheme offers members a range of benefits including free assistance with non-emergency breakdowns.
“We’ve always provided search and rescue services free in emergencies and will continue to do so. However, at least 95 percent of the incidents we attend are non-emergencies and this part of our service will also now be available free at point-of-use for our members,” says Coastguard’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Rangi.
Help could take the form of delivering fuel supplies, assisting with on-the-spot repairs, or towing a vessel to the nearest safe haven. The service will be available free on two occasions per year to each member, albeit that those benefiting will be expected to meet the cost of any fuel delivered to them.
“We urge all boat owners and users to become Coastguard members and ensure they are able to benefit in full from this service,” says Mr Rangi, adding that the cost of membership is just $49.95 per annum and recoupable through the use of membership privileges.
“Even experienced boaters can suddenly be faced with a failing engine or some other mechanical fault. And, although the weather might be perfect when a breakdown occurs, conditions can deteriorate very rapidly, turning a mishap into a potential disaster if not attended to with all due speed,” he says.
There are an estimated 260,000 recreational boats owned by New Zealanders, ranging from large keeled yachts and motor launches through to dinghies and trailered craft.
The Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation’s 67 local affiliates provide a 24 hour-a-day, 365 day-a-year, nation-wide service, with the help of 50 specialist rescue vessels, search aircraft and more than 1,300 volunteers, including highly trained search and rescue crews.
In the 12 months to June this year, Coastguard helped over 6,000 people in trouble on the water and brought assistance to vessels worth a total of more than $75 million.
“Contrary to widespread belief, we’re an almost entirely voluntary organisation and receive no funding at all from government. We’ve been fortunate in recent years to receive generous support from the Lotteries Grants Board, which is currently meeting approximately half of our search and rescue costs. But we are otherwise largely dependent on donation income,” says Kevin Rangi.
“We have a pressing need to create a more diverse and sustainable funding base and are looking to our membership programme to provide a useful new income stream. We also believe that our membership programme provides the boating community with significant benefits and makes a real contribution to safety on the water,” he adds.
Mr Rangi compares Coastguard’s new approach to that of the Automobile Association, with members issued with a card entitling them to breakdown assistance and other benefits. He describes the concept as well tried and tested.
Membership privileges include concessionary prices on a wide range of boating and sporting products as well as on boat and vehicle finance and insurance and on subscriptions to popular boating and fishing magazines. Members can also take advantage of a Coastguard “star card” when purchasing petrol or diesel fuel.
To apply for Coastguard membership, boat users and owners can either call in at their nearest AA centre, telephone a free-phone number ( 0800 COASTGUARD ) or visit the Federation’s website ( www.nzcoastguard.org.nz ).
For further information, please contact:
Kevin Rangi
Chief Executive Officer
The Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation (Inc.)
Phone: 09 489 1510, Fax: 09 489 1506,
Mobile: 025 924 688 Email: kevinr@nzcoastguard.org.nz,
Released by Ian Morrison of Matter of Fact Communications, Phone: 09 575 3223, Fax: 09 575 3220, Email: matfact@ww.co.nz

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