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Celebrating the arrival of rescue boat this Saturday - Coastguard Whangaruru

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Community event planned to welcome ‘game-changing’ new rescue boat thanks to unique partnership between Lotto NZ, Coastguard and Emirates Team New Zealand.

When it comes to keeping boaties safe on the water, the volunteer crew of Coastguard Whangaruru are generally the ones to be thanked. But this Saturday, they will be the ones leading the thank-yous at a special event to welcome their brand-new rescue boat. And they have a lot of people to thank!

Whangaruru’s new Coastguard Rescue Vessel (CRV) is one of 26 high-spec craft that were first used as chase boats at this year’s America’s Cup. Now, courtesy of a $9.8 million lottery grant made possible by the millions of Kiwis who play Lotto NZ games each year, these 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.

Coastguard Whangaruru’s CRV, named Tautahi by local Hapu after the guardian shark of Whangaruru, will be welcomed into the harbour and blessed for safe passage on Saturday morning. This will be followed by a hāngÄ« lunch supplied by the local school and the chance to be taken for a ride on the water by members of the crew.

Coastguard New Zealand CEO, Callum Gillespie, is delighted that the partnership has significantly increased the local unit’s capability in time for the anticipated busy summer season.

"While Whangaruru is one of Coastguard's smallest units, our volunteers operate across a vast area, covering Cape Brett in the north, east to the Poor Knights islands 20 miles offshore, and down to Whananaki in the south. The Whangaruru area is busy with many keen boaties over summer so this new vessel will prove invaluable to our volunteers keeping their local community safe."

Lotto NZ Chief Executive, Chris Lyman, says supporting the vital work of Coastguard units like Whangaruru 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 refitting of the boat from America’s Cup supporter to lifesaver was taken care of by original manufacturer, Rayglass. 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.

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.

"Coastguard are the unsung heroes of our waters around the country and so it’s great to see the fleet of vessels that supported us freshly refitted and taking to the water again to help them save lives."

Tautahi replaces RV Tangaroa, which after 22 years of increasingly patched-up service, will no longer be called upon to take on the challenging conditions which the crew often face when responding to calls between Cape Brett and the Poor Knights.

"No longer having to head out in big seas in a small boat will be a total game-changer for us and for the community," says Coastguard Whangaruru’s Nathalie LeBlanc.

"Having this purpose-designed boat that can hit 40 knots will not only keep us safe responding to distress calls, but look after our community and the many boaties who come to and through our waters."

"We’re a small, tight-knit community here, that depend on each other, and so it’s great that we can provide the reassurance that not only do we have their back on the water, we can get to them quicker should they get into trouble."

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