Coastguard Canterbury volunteer, Nelson Colyer, was honoured this week at the New Zealand Search and Rescue Awards for his role in a daring rescue last year.
Recognising the achievements and efforts of New Zealand Search and Rescue volunteers from around the country, a total of eight awards were presented in Wellington on 9 May.
Mr Colyer, one of two Coastguard volunteers who received a Certificate of Achievement, has been a volunteer with the Coastguard Canterbury Unit for over six years. He was acknowledged for the commitment and the skills he demonstrated in a rescue in April last year where he helped return a tug boat and its crew back to land safely.
Upon arriving on the scene, Nelson singlehandedly prevented the tug Rakanui from sinking by working both above and below deck to pump water that was filling the vessel.
With the crew exhausted, Nelson skippered the boat back to port - a journey that took over four hours. On the way back, Nelson also looked after a crew member who had become ill and responded to engine difficulties.
Coastguard New Zealand CEO Patrick Holmes attended the awards evening and says he was extremely proud to see the courageous efforts of the organisation's volunteers recognised on a national scale.
"The heroic efforts displayed by Nelson Colyer are an outstanding example of the dedication and courage demonstrated by our volunteers who risk their lives to ensure boaties are kept safe at sea.
"We are thrilled that the NZSAR Council recognises the significance of such extraordinary volunteers who go above and beyond in situations where lives often hang in the balance."
The Certificate of Appreciation from the NZSAR Council isn't the first time Nelson's efforts have been acknowledged. Nelson was also recognised for his role in the Rakanui rescue at the 2011 Coastguard national conference where he was named Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year.
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. There are currently 2,406 volunteers involved with Coastguard throughout New Zealand, giving 243,556 hours of volunteer time from July 2011 to March 2012.
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