North Kaipara Coastguard gets new rescue vessel in time for busy Summer season

North Kaipara Coastguard gets new rescue vessel in time for busy Summer season

The Northern Kaipara Harbour can be a dangerous stretch of water, but it should now be somewhat safer with a new Coastguard boat for the area launched on Saturday.

The new Lotto-funded Coastguard boat – the first for North Kaipara – arrived at Tinopai on Saturday, where it will be based.

The new rescue boat – named Tinopai Rescue – is one of 26 refitted America’s Cup chase boats returning to the water to keep Kiwi boaties safe thanks to a unique partnership between Lotto NZ, Coastguard and Emirates Team New Zealand, and $9.8 million of lottery funding.

With 900sq km of often challenging harbour under their watch, the volunteer crew of Coastguard North Kaipara have no easy task when it comes to keeping local boaties and fishing vessels safe on the water.

But their ability to look out for their extended community has been enhanced significantly with the arrival of their own, brand-new rescue boat – just in time for the busy summer season.

The boats have been reskinned and refitted for Coastguard units across the country that have been identified as having ageing vessels and limited capacity to fundraise.

North Kaipara is the second Coastguard unit to receive its new boat through the partnership, and Coastguard CEO Callum Gillespie said a new vessel was well overdue for this deserving unit.

“This will be the first vessel the Coastguard North Kaipara unit will own themselves – having had their current vessel on loan from Coastguard NZ for some time. The new vessel gives the unit a higher-level bar-crossing capability they have not had before; and for Coastguard’s ability to service one of the largest harbours in the world, this is a real step in the right direction,” Gillespie said.

”It’s also fantastic to acknowledge that North Kaipara’s old vessel will be gifted forward to the Nga Waka Federation to support the group’s aim to preserve the traditions associated with kaupapa waka.”

Coastguard North Kaipara’s James Foster said taking delivery of their new vessel is a hugely exciting new chapter for the unit, which, as recently as 2014, was operating as the North Kaipara Volunteer Coastguard Air Sea Rescue Inc, responding to distress calls in what he calls “vessels of opportunity” (aka their own boats).

The excitement is shared by the community, who have dug deep through a range of charity initiatives to help fund alterations to the boat’s new home at Tinopai, and a new tractor to get it in and out of the water.

“Probably the key role that Coastguard North Kaipara plays is to provide a feeling of security not just for those that use the harbour, including both commercial and recreational fishers, but their friends and family too,” Foster said.

Vital new additions include stainless-steel framework and the full suite of accessories required by a Coastguard rescue vessel, such as flare cameras, loudhailers, flashing lights, radars and cabinetry for pelican boxes, stretchers and first aid kits.

Lotto NZ chief executive Chris Lyman says supporting the vital work of Coastguard units like North Kaipara is what Lotto is all about.

“Lotto NZ exists to generate essential funding for New Zealand communities – it’s why we do what we do. The positive impact these high-spec vessels will have on communities around the country cannot be underestimated, with each one helping Coastguard save countless lives at sea each year. This is a great example of how Lotto NZ is all about Kiwis helping Kiwis. “

The boats may have now lost their America’s Cup branding, but Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton says their involvement in this unique partnership remains a source of pride for the whole team.

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