Coastguard

New boat doubles Bay of Islands coastguard’s rescue capacity


The new Bay of Islands Coast Guard boat, with Keith Wallace, Ayden Armitage, Richard Ainsley, Bob Hoffman (skipper), Darlene Haverkamp (skipper), Blair Stanley and Phil Snowdon (chairman) on board.

Bay of Islands Coastguard has doubled its rescue capacity with a new boat at the Paihia wharf as the group of volunteers prepare for what is expected to be a busy summer.

The group’s current vessel, the purpose-built Bay Rescue II, is based in Doves Bay on the north side of Kerikeri Inlet.

But with most of the bay’s water activities – and many of the group’s volunteer crew – based around Paihia on the other side of the bay, the situation has proven increasingly unsuitable to respond quickly. maritime emergencies.

It’s about to get a lot better.

The Bay of Islands Group is one of several coastguard units across the country to take delivery of new lifeboats built as tenders for the 2021 America’s Cup in Auckland. The 26 boats were built with a $ 9.8 million grant from the lottery on the condition that they were then donated to the Coast Guard.

The AC36 Rayglass Protector boats have since been fitted with the specialized equipment needed for water rescues, and the Bay of Islands Group put their new vessel to the test from a temporary base in ÅŒpua.

This week the boat moved to a permanent berth on one of the new shore fingers at the Paihia wharf.

The new lifeboats were built as tenders for the 2021 America's Cup on the condition that they were then donated to Coastguard.  Photo / Supplied
The new lifeboats were built as tenders for the 2021 America’s Cup on the condition that they were then donated to Coastguard. Photo / Supplied

“We’ve been kind of invisible,” Bay of Islands Coast Guard Chairman Phil Snowdon said.

“We want people to realize we’re here and that’s what we do. It’s also very central – even from ÅŒpua it’s a long 5-knot path to get to where you need to go. This location allows us to serve the entire southern bay area much faster, especially considering that a large part of our crew is based in Paihia. “

Two of the group’s three current skippers lived in Paihia and needed 40 minutes to get to the boat at Doves Bay.

“Doves Bay is just not suited to the scale of the work we are doing right now. We need to get to where our members will be coming from and where most of the water activity is. This will allow us to better attract, train and retain crew members, and will solve many of our problems. “

The existing Bay Rescue II would remain at Doves Bay Base. With its larger size and fully enclosed cabin, it was better suited to larger, more distant rescues in wilder weather.

He would also be deployed for incidents in the northern Bay of Islands or when rescued boats had to be brought back to Kerikeri Inlet.

The Doves Bay <a class=coastguard boat Bay Rescue II, based in Bay of Islands, in action. Photo / Peter de Graaf” class=”article-media__image responsively-lazy” data-test-ui=”article-media__image”/>
The Doves Bay coastguard boat Bay Rescue II, based in Bay of Islands, in action. Photo / Peter de Graaf

The new ship had an open cabin and was about a meter shorter than the Bay Rescue II with a narrower beam, but was still a “very, very classy boat” designed to follow foiling yachts at high speed.

With two boats on the water, the group would need even more volunteers, Snowdon said.
Comprehensive training was provided and volunteers of all ages, genders and ethnicities were needed, he said.

“We want people at all levels.”

Members had many different reasons for joining the Coast Guard, he said.

“Some people just want to do something and go on the water, others want to learn new skills, but a lot of people have a lot to gain on the water and want to give something back to the community. That’s a huge motivation. “

The new ship will be named in a ceremony in February during the Waitangi Day commemorations.

The new boats are the result of a partnership between Coastguard, Lotto and Emirates Team New Zealand. Far North Holdings also helped.

• Send an email to [email protected] if you wish to become a volunteer.