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Coastguard expands with new unit in Houhora

26 November 2012

Coastguard expands with new unit in Houhora

Coastguard Northern Region representatives gathered in Houhora on Sunday to welcome the newest unit to the Coastguard family, Coastguard Houhora. The unit will be operational on waters from the northern end of Karikari Peninsula to the eastern tip of North Cape at the northern end of Great Exhibition Bay.

Coastguard maintains an infrastructure right around the coast of New Zealand to ensure they are there when the public need them. As one of the 25 units dispersed around the northern region, Coastguard Houhora will play an integral part in keeping the waters safe in the Far North.

Graham Petrie, Unit Support and Operations Manager for Coastguard Northern Region, says “after much engagement with local communities in the Far North and with an overwhelming supportive response to start up a unit, Coastguard have since worked hard to make this happen and we’re now thrilled to have Coastguard Houhora on board”.

It is proposed to work towards a Coastguard Rescue Vessel based in Houhora but for the meantime while the unit gets up and running, there are currently six boat owners in the Houhora area who are prepared to use their own boats to provide assistance.

To date, these vessels have been providing informal marine and SAR services in the Houhora area as required and the intention is to use these vessels as a privately-owned cutter fleet with Coastguard crews, equipment and capability levels known to Coastguard.

“Our people don’t ask for a cent for the work they do. They do however demand the very best equipment and training that we can give them to do the job. This is where public support is so important and it’s great to see the community getting behind the unit while it gets up and running” says Mr Petrie.

Currently there are 18 volunteers in the area affiliated with the unit all with a range of different experience levels. They will be provided with ample opportunity to build on their skills and qualifications and look forward to being able to recruit more volunteers into their unit soon.

Murray Henderson, Chairperson of Coastguard Houhora, says “we’re thrilled to be a part of Coastguard and look forward to continually build and improve our unit”.

To make a donation to Coastguard or to become a member, please visit www.coastguard.org.nz or call (09) 303 4303.

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 that are located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand.

Coastguard Northern Region operates the area from Thames across to the Mokau River and everywhere north. They are 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.’

However, Coastguard Northern Region does more than 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.

• We provide 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.
• 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.

ENDS

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