South Canterbury Wins Mitre 10 Coastguard Rescue of the Year
17 September 2013
South Canterbury Wins Mitre 10 Coastguard Rescue of the Year Award
“One second it was calm then the tug dropped and a wave came over the top,” remembers Erica Lister a member of the Coastguard South Canterbury Volunteer Unit awarded ‘Rescue of the Year’ at the National Coastguard Gala Awards Evening on Saturday.
On the evening of Monday 4 February 2013 volunteers from Coastguard South Canterbury were paged about an incident off the coast between Parora and St Andrews. A yacht with two people onboard had reported blown out sails, a broken motor and that they were drifting perilously towards rocks.
The Coastguard South Canterbury volunteers made the tough decision their 8.5 metre vessel could not safely handle the wind gusts of 40-45 knots and three and a half metre breaking sea swells. Tony Lister, a Tug Master for the Timaru Port Company by day and Coastguard South Canterbury volunteer, asked his boss for a tug to attempt a courageous rescue operation.
Within two hours the yacht had been located with no running lights onboard. Conditions were too rough to risk a tow, so the Coastguard team positioned themselves to give shelter from the conditions without collision.
By 1am the wind dropped and a 15 metre fishing boat skippered by another Coastguard volunteer was able to safely tow the yacht to shore.
Thanks to the expertise and training of Coastguard’s volunteers and the support of the local community two people were rescued in a high risk operation.
Coastguard South Canterbury received one of the five annual national awards given to individuals and Coastguard units whose contributions to the organisation were recognised at the conference, as the Coastguard community came together to honour the year’s achievements.
Patrick Holmes Coastguard CEO says, “This mission in dangerous conditions showcases the Coastguard spirit of cooperation within a community, of using appropriate resources and keeping crew safe while assisting those in distress. This is an outstanding example of the hours of training, hard work and team work that is required to save New Zealanders lives on the water in some incredibly challenging conditions.”
Mitre 10 is once again sponsoring a Coastguard national award, and Dave Elliott General Manager Marketing says it is proud to be part of honouring such an impressive Unit, risking life and limb to keep strangers safe.
“We are proud to support and be associated with Coastguard and the winners of this award. As citizens of New Zealand all staff at Mitre 10 thank you all for your commitment to saving lives.”
Coastguard New Zealand President, Dean Lawrence says, “Coastguard South Canterbury volunteers have shown outstanding service to Coastguard. What an example of exceptional bravery, dedication and skills. Thanks also to the expertise and efforts of the South Canterbury locals who ensured this mission had a successful outcome. The dangerous situation mentioned in this mission is not uncommon for our Coastguard volunteers to face. All award winners have gone above and beyond the call of duty for Coastguard New Zealand. Most people do not realise Coastguard is a charity and our Units are made up of volunteers.”
Coastguard keeps people safe on the sea, coastal waters and lakes of New Zealand. It is made up of over 2,430 highly-trained volunteers who put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis to ensure the safety of New Zealander’s nationwide. This year Coastguard’s courageous volunteers brought over 7,080 people safely back to land and devoted over 307,000 hours to saving New Zealanders lives on the water.
There are five categories for the awards:
|Hutchwilco Coastguard Volunteer of the Year||Mark Bolland||Coastguard West Coast|
|Mitre 10 Coastguard Rescue of the Year||Coastguard South Canterbury||Coastguard South Canterbury|
|Coastguard Operational Volunteer of the Year||Tony Smith||Coastguard Clyde|
|Coastguard Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year||Laurie Officer||Coastguard Southland Air Patrol|
|Coastguard Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year||Kevin Dreaver||Coastguard Raglan|
The individual award recipients each receive a prize that assists in furthering their education, and professional development, within Coastguard.
Dreaver, Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year
Mr Dreaver’s Coastguard Raglan peers cited not just his unwavering commitment to training himself and others in their nomination but his ability to encourage achievement and mentor others to the highest potential. A 14 year dedication to Coastguard as a volunteer has garnered respect from his fellow volunteers and Raglan community at large.
Laurie Officer, Air Patrol Volunteer of the
Southland Air Patrol’s Laurie Officer has been involved with the Unit for 15 years and it will come as no surprise to his colleagues that he has been honoured at this year’s gala awards. Mr Officer was named Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year for displaying long-term support and passion to Coastguard. He was a founding member of the Coastguard Southland Air Patrol unit in 1998. As President he guided the Unit’s development within the Coastguard framework and has served on the board for 10 years.
Tony Smith, Operational Volunteer of the
Coastguard Clyde peers said in their nomination of Tony Smith he is a key person who has been instrumental in securing a building to operate out of and a rescue vessel. The hundreds of hours he has invested in Coastguard and his colleagues at a cost to himself, his family and his business is an outstanding example of his passion and commitment. Mr Smith never hesitates to roll up his sleeves if there is a job that needs doing.
Volunteer of the Year
Committing over 20 years of service to Coastguard West Coast’s Mark Bolland is a respected fixture in his community. Described by his peers as a ‘strong foundation stone’, Mark carries out his duties with loyalty, dedication and has placed the West Coast Unit in good stead for the future.
The positions he has held include Board Member Coastguard West Coast and Coastguard Southern Region, Safety Officer and part of the Incident Management team. He was instrumental in the Units growth and oversaw the purchase of the West Coast vessel. He also took ownership of the Health Safety of the Unit and vessel. The hours of behind-the-scenes work had made him a worthy recipient of this award.
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, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand. Coastguard New Zealand is a volunteer organisation with a charitable status. It has more than 2,430 active search and rescue Volunteers who provide over 307,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. Coastguard performs over 3,200 rescues each year assisting over 7,080 New Zealanders. There are currently 78 dedicated rescue vessels in Coastguard New Zealand’s fleet, 10 air patrol units and one dedicated communications unit. All crew members on board Coastguard vessels and air patrol craft are trained search and rescue personnel working to enhance the safety of all New Zealanders when they participate in boating and water activities.