Press Release – Coastguard
At 2151 hours last night Coastguard’s Operations Centre received a phone call from a man reporting his brother and two friends over due from their fishing trip.
The three men left Half Moon Bay at 1600 hours yesterday in their 14.5 foot boat advising they would return by 2100 hours that night. There was no report of lifejackets or marine communications on board. It was when the older brother hadn’t received a phone call to pick them up that he raised the alarm.
After numerous attempts by Coastguard’s Operations Centre to contact them via cell phone, at 2300 hours Coastguard volunteers from Howick were tasked to search for the missing boaties and at 0033 hours Coastguard North Shore were also tasked to join the search. They worked with Westpac Helicopter and Police helicopter ‘Eagle’ who searched through the night.
At 0433 hours, Coastguard’s Operations Centre received a text message from one of the boaties advising that they were safe and tied up to a jetty in Matiatia Bay, Waiheke. All assets were stood down.
The search covered the inner and outer islands and channels in the Hauraki Gulf with Coastguard alone having expended 45 man hours in the search.
Mark Leevers, Duty Officer for Coastguard Northern Region, says “this is a classic case of the unnecessary use of resources due to lack of communication from boaties”.
Coastguard takes this opportunity to remind people of the importance of carrying two forms of waterproof communication on board and familiarising themselves with Coastguard’s marine VHF channels before heading out on the water.
“We can only do so much. Coastguard volunteers are out there dedicating their time and risking their lives to save others. People need to make sure they are looking out for themselves and that means taking all the necessary safety equipment on board and telling someone where they are going, when they will be back and advising any changes to the trip.”
About Coastguard Northern Region:
Coastguard is the charity that provides New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service. The organisation operates from a network of four regions and 71 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand. Coastguard’s Northern Region covers the area from Thames across to the Mokau River and everything north and is based at the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre (AMRC) in Mechanics Bay. Each year the operations room at the AMRC receives over 100,000 VHF marine radio calls.
Coastguard’s Northern Region however more than daring rescues at sea. Generations of dedicated people have established an organisation that provides a wealth of services to every person using our harbours and beaches.
• Provides a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year service.
• Install and maintain VHF radio repeaters throughout the Northern Region to enable mariners to communicate with each other over long distances.
• Install and maintain buoys and beacons to make recreational boating safer.
• Provide a 24 hour continuous weather forecast on marine radio VHF channels 20, 21, 22 and 23.
• Accept trip reports from any vessel able to make radio contact.
• Provide a range of boating education courses to ensure that boaties have a sound knowledge of their boats and the rules of the road at sea.
Coastguard’s Northern Region Maritime School gives boaties the skills they need for a safe and enjoyable time on the water. They have a range of theory-based and practical (RYA) courses available. These are aimed at encouraging people to get to know the boating rules and regulation whilst gaining the skills and experience to keep safe.