Coastguard

The Coastguard’s 20-year journey from ‘old school’ skippers to ‘level playing field’

Until the launch of the new Coastguard vessel, the Hohapata Sealord Rescue, 18 months ago, Coastguard volunteer Rosie Musters said Nelson’s lifeboat had no working toilets. walking.

With long journeys of up to 16 hours, as well as the wearing of wetsuits and other gear, the lack of toilets meant that women could not be part of the ‘wet crew’ of guards. ribs.

“No toilets – girls can’t go there.”

It was one of the many barriers women faced when working in search and rescue, Musters said.

After 21 years with the coastguard, the volunteer recently received one of the International Lifesaving Federation’s highest awards for her work as a role model for women in maritime search and rescue (SAR).

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Rosie Musters of Nelson <a class=Coastguard received an internationally recognized award for her service to women in maritime search and rescue.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Martin De Ruyter / Stuff

Rosie Musters of Nelson Coastguard received an internationally recognized award for her service to women in maritime search and rescue.

Musters said she was touched by the recognition, as well as amazed to be chosen from an international selection of nominees.

The volunteer didn’t even know she had been nominated until Coastguard Chairman Peter Kara told her she was a finalist over the phone.

Musters played a number of roles in the Nelson watch. She was currently coaching five women, one fresh out of school and one in her 50s, to join the team’s “wet crew” and two to work ashore.

Musters started working with Coastguard 21 years ago after moving from Dunedin to Nelson.

Musters started working with Coastguard 21 years ago after moving from Dunedin to Nelson.

Musters said 50% of new hires have been women over the past two years. There was also a Saturday team made up mostly of women.

Musters moved from England to New Zealand at the age of 29 to work for three years at the University of Otago.

She eventually moved to Nelson, working for the Department of Education and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, while practicing part-time privately as a psychologist.

The incident that involved Musters with Coastguard was the capsizing of a yacht between Boulder Bank and Haulashore Island in the mid-1990s.

The volunteer also works with young women by training them in search and <a class=rescue operations.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

The volunteer also works with young women by training them in search and rescue operations.

Two people died in the tragedy. It was while providing critical instant care to a woman involved in radio communications during the capsizing that Musters decided to get involved with Coastguard.

“It left a strong impression on me that bad things happen at sea.”

Initially, Musters began volunteering about six hours a week with the Air Patrol Unit. The coastguard was very different then, with very few women involved.

Those involved were usually men from the “old school” of the fishing industry, such as retired captains who were “worth their weight in gold” and followed a particular mode of operation.

“It was not so accommodating for women.”

The culture changed very quickly with the new millennium, Musters said, shifting to a more professional outlook with formal training offered to staff.

Now, 20 years later, the Coastguard felt more like a ‘level playing field’, with many female managers and staff employed by the organisation.

“It’s like that in any organization across the country. The weather is changing.”

<a class=Coast Guard culture has changed over the past two decades, becoming more professional and accommodating to women, Musters said.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Martin De Ruyter / Stuff

Coast Guard culture has changed over the past two decades, becoming more professional and accommodating to women, Musters said.

After retiring six years ago, Musters volunteered full-time for the organization to keep her brain active, she joked.

She was on duty as a duty officer when the 14-hour rescue of the Ocean Gem took place, earning Nelson Coastguard another award from the International Lifesaving Federation.

To young women who wanted to get involved with the Coastguard, Musters said the organization had equal opportunity and Nelson’s unit was especially open to anyone joining, regardless of age or gender.

All you needed was time, energy or skills and commitment to be part of the team.

MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFF

The new Coastguard Nelson Hohapata Sealord Rescue boat in Port Nelson during its launch.