|Nickname||Coastguard New Zealand|
|Purpose||Maritime search and rescue|
470 Parnell Road
|18,000 supporter members|
Chief Executive Officer
|23 paid staff|
|2,235 active volunteers|
The Royal New Zealand Coastguard (informally Coastguard New Zealand) is the primary civilian marine search and rescue organisation for New Zealand. Unlike a number of other countries, the organisation is a non-governmental, civilian charitable organisation, with no enforcement powers. Uniformed agencies of the New Zealand government, including the police, Maritime New Zealand and customs, manage New Zealand's maritime law enforcement and border control. Coastguard New Zealand has a strong focus on boating education.
Sea rescue services have existed in some shape or form in New Zealand since at least 1861, but it was not until some time later that the modern Coastguard New Zealand was formed.
The Coastguard in New Zealand is a civilian charity made up of volunteers. There are four Coastguard regions (Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern), with 63 units between these regions.
The type of incident will influence a number of factors, such as who is in control of the incident and who will pay for the incident. Other organisations may also become involved in an incident including:
Some examples of a Category 1 incident are:
Typically require the use of local personnel and resources and can be carried out efficiently and effectively at the local level.
Some examples of a Category 2 incident are:
Coastguard also provides non-urgent assistance, such as breakdown assistance (including re-fueling and towing), for free to members. Coastguard membership is $115 per year (as of 2016). However, this non-urgent assistance is chargeable for non-members. The current rate is $280 per hour (from the time the rescue vessel leaves the dock until the time it arrives back). Emergencies are always covered for free as this is the primary mission of the Coastguard.
The vision of the organisation is "No boaties’ lives lost at sea" with the mission "To be the ‘go to’ people for marine safety, education and search and rescue services".
The focuses for Coastguard New Zealand currently are:
A large number of volunteers make up the organisation, alongside a small number of paid staff. In 2016, there was 2235 volunteers and 23 paid staff, made up of 13 Coastguard staff and 10 Coastguard Boating Education staff. The organisation is made up of a large number of different roles, both on-shore and as SAR crew.
As a charity, Coastguard requires volunteer crew in order to continue their operations. Many rural units need crew now, with some urban areas operating a wait list instead. Interested people can apply on the How do I become a Coastguard volunteer? website. Applicants need to pass a "police vet". This is more stringent than just a regular criminal convictions check as crew may work with vulnerable people.
Units require people to attend search and rescue events as they may arise.
Involves being an air observer or tactical officer. The air patrol typically involves small planes.
Units require people on-shore to maintain the operations of the unit. This involves operating radios and managing incidents, among other things.
Communicates with vessels at sea, including rescues vessels (as well as the public). This role requires the crew member to hold a Maritime VHF Radio Operator Certificate. The role invol
Coordinates search and rescues operations. The role is suited to someone who has previous people management experience. This role is especially important when working with other agencies, in which case the Coordinated Information Management System (CIMS) is used.
Plans and manages the delivery of training to the unit and ensures the crew remains competent. This role also involving assessing crew and reporting results.
Manages unit compliance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act, as well as the Maritime Transport Act and the general Health and Safety needs of the unit. The role encompasses the vessel, buildings and crew & may also involve maintaining relationships with WorkSafe New Zealand and Maritime New Zealand.
Manages on-going repairs and maintenance for the units buildings, vessels and vehicles.
Represent the crew members to the board and maintains the crews welfare.
The individual units of the Coastguard each have a treasurer, as well as a number of other roles. The units also take some responsibility for fundraising in their community.
All units operate small to medium-sized marine rescue vessels, typically under nine metres. They are specially equipped with rescue equipment, such as:
Today two Air Patrol units exist under the Coastguard banner presently, Auckland Air Patrol and Northland Air Patrol. Together, they responded to 76 calls for assistance and assisted 155 people in 2016. Previously an Air Patrol existed in the South Island. This has now been disestablished due to a lack of funding. Assistance is still able to be provided in the event of an emergency to the South island but this is now typically provided by helicopters based out of Christchurch.
Crew members are provided with a distinctive red uniform that is suitable for challenging marine conditions. Some of the clothing includes:
A number of services are provided by the Coastguard via. marine VHF radio. The person operating the VHF radio is required to hold a Maritime VHF Radio Operator Certificate (unless they are under supervision by someone who holds one or they are making an emergency call). All emergency calls should be made on marine VHF channel 16. The channel is monitored by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand and the Coastguard Marine Rescue Centre. Nearby vessels are also encouraged to listen on the channel for any distress calls.
Provides up-to-date marine weather for all of New Zealand. This is also known as "nowcasting". The channels used for the Marine Weather service are available on the Coastguard website.
Provides ability to lodge a trip report. It is a good idea to do a trip report when departing on the water and when crossing a bar. You should always remember to close your trip report when you arrive back safely or when you cross the bar. In the event that an alarm is raised, search and rescue teams will have information available to assist them with the rescue. The channels used for the Trip Reports service are available on the Coastguard website. The information collected includes:
Coastguard New Zealand operates a subsidiary, Coastguard Boating Education (CBE). The organisation runs education events, such as classes for female skippers, and two Hauraki Gulf cruises highlighting popular anchorages and hazard awareness. Many courses are offered with a number being NZQA-accredited. Some of the most popular courses include:
More information is available on the Coastguard Boating Education website.
As part of a water safety campaign, Coastguard is conducting a programme where old, and oftentimes unserviceable, lifejackets can be replaced at a lower cost than the retail price. More information is available on the Old4New website.
In the 2018 financial year, Coastguard New Zealand received $10.6m in income and had $9.9m in expenses.
|Year||Number of volunteers||Volunteer hours||Rescues conducted||People rescued|