Waiheke Island coastguard unit wins rescue of the year award

Press Release: Coastguard
A courageous rescue effort from Coastguard Waiheke Island has resulted in the Unit receiving the Rescue of the Year Award at the National Coastguard Awards Dinner, held in Nelson on Saturday.

Coastguard Waiheke Island received one of six annual national awards given to individuals and Coastguard units whose contributions to the organisation were recognised, as the New Zealand Coastguard community came together to honour the year’s achievements.

On January 8 this year, Coastguard Waiheke was called out to a vessel which had struck rocks at Moturua (Rabbit) Island in the Coromandel.

The crew had already been out on the water for four hours attending other calls but raced out to assist the stricken boat which was buckling and twisting in the heavy seas and surging against the rocks.

The crew of Waiheke Rescue managed to convince the men to stay onboard despite their intention to jump into a small inflatable – a move which could have proved fatal. Waiheke Rescue then managed to get in close enough to transfer both men safely to the Coastguard boat despite the waves pounding the foundering vessel during the rescue.

With all persons safe and accounted for, Waiheke Rescue battled more rough seas in order to get both men and the crew back to shore an exhausting nine hours later.

Coastguard New Zealand President, Coin Small says, “Coastguard is able to continue the work it does to save lives at sea thanks to the dedication of volunteers like those from the Waiheke Island Unit and we are pleased to be able to honour those outstanding individuals who make it all possible with these awards.”

Coastguard is New Zealand’s primary provider of marine search and rescue services. It is made up of highly-trained volunteers who put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis to ensure the safety of people at sea. This year 2,224 brave volunteers brought 6,996 Kiwis safely back to land and devoted a significant 348,346 hours to keeping New Zealander’s safe on the water.

“This year’s award winners have all shown outstanding service to Coastguard and their local boating communities, and our sincere thanks goes out to those volunteers for their commitment to saving lives at sea,” says Small.