The coastguard boat passed at high speed near the rowboat anchored on Auckland’s Waiheke Island, a witness said.
The actions of a volunteer Coast Guard crew, pouring tonic water onto a luxury speedboat, were described as “unbelievably stupid” and dangerous by an eyewitness.
The Coast Guard said there was no risk to anyone, an official debriefing will take place.
The “high speed” delivery took place on Saturday night on Auckland’s Waiheke Island, shortly after children swam in the area, according to the eyewitness who asked not to be named.
The Auckland Coast Guard boat arrived at the luxury vessel, which was anchored about 200m from shore in Oneroa Bay, the man said. Thing.
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“The coast guard boat came in at high speed, looking straight at the sun… I expected it to be some kind of emergency, so I took out the binoculars and threw it away. a glance.”
The man saw the Coast Guard crew unload four crates into the boat’s dinghy, and a great cheer came from the launch, he said.
Then came the “insanely stupid” part: the coastguard ship circled tightly around the launch, which the man captured on camera.
“The 360 degree race was close to the boat, less than 3m from the stern, probably around 25 knots, which is absolute madness.
“I compare it to drunk children, rather than coastguard personnel.
“Even in an emergency, I wouldn’t expect them to approach a boat like this, they should slow down and approach with caution.
Coast Guard chief executive Callum Gillespie said the crew responded to a request from another volunteer to bring a box of tonic to the launch at Oneroa in exchange for a financial donation to the unit. .
“Despite their laudable intentions to raise funds for the unit – and that there are no other tasks for them at the moment – the Coast Guard recognizes that this is not the right use for a ship. rescue, ”he said.
Gillespie said when the coast guard boat left it circled the ship at 15 knots. This was done 200 m from the coast and in constant communication with the skipper of the boat.
“There was no other vessel nearby and no risk to either side of the maneuver. However, this action is not in line with Coast Guard expectations for the operation of a Coast Guard vessel and a formal debriefing will take place. “
Gillespie said at no point was alcohol involved and the crew made a number of successful calls that day, including two groundings where they saved the ships from significant damage.
But the eyewitness said it was a significant public safety issue.
Maritime rules require that vessels travel to 5 knots when they are less than 50m from any other boat.
“Regardless of the illegality of excessive speed within 50m of an anchored vessel … I am amazed that you are willing to accept an incredibly powerful vessel traveling at high speed a few meters from the stern of an anchored ship, where passengers socialized and drank, that’s not a dangerous situation, ”he said in a complaint to Gillespie.