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Coastguard brings more Kiwis safely home than ever

02 August 2011

Coastguard brings more Kiwis safely home than ever

More Kiwi lives than ever are being saved at sea while rising fuel prices could be impacting the way New Zealander’s are boating, reveals Coastguard’s latest statistics.

For the year ended 30 June 2011, Coastguard volunteers brought 6,996 New Zealander’s safely back to land - a six percent increase on the previous year when 6,560 were rescued. The average number of people who were rescued on each rescue mission this year was 2.1, an increase from 1.8 in 2010 and 1.6 in 2009.

Interestingly, despite these increases the number of rescue missions has decreased slightly year on year from 3,672 to 3,337.

Colin Small, President of Coastguard New Zealand, says this new trend could be a result of boaties feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices.

“The fact that we are rescuing more people but the number of actual missions has fallen indicates that vessels are going out with more people on board. We believe this is a sign of the times with the increasing cost of petrol leading people to think more carefully about the way they go boating.

“While this form of ‘boat pooling’ is a fun and social way to spend time with friends and share the cost, it’s important to know your vessel’s passenger capacity and to not overload your boat. Safety should always be paramount so it’s also critical to ensure there are enough life jackets for everyone on board,” he says.

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The new statistics also reveal that the organisation is spending more time than ever helping to raise critical funds needed to keep the charity going with the number of fundraising hours increasing by 12 percent.

“As the charity saving lives at sea, Coastguard is reliant upon the generous support of Kiwi’s to help continue their operations, especially at a community level, so this investment from volunteers is important says Mr Small.

“The number of public education hours has also increased by nine percent which is really great to see. Up skilling in this way is particularly effective as saving lives at sea really does begin on land -the better educated our boaties are, the safer they will be.”

Mr Small praises the tireless dedication and commitment of Coastguard’s 2,244 brave volunteers who have devoted a significant 348,346 hours to keeping New Zealander’s safe at sea - that‘s 155 hours per volunteer or four working weeks!

He also welcomes the release of Coastguard’s annual statistics to show his appreciation for everyone who helps keep the organisation afloat.

“We not only want to thank all of our invaluable volunteers but also their partners who encourage their ongoing dedication, their kids who say “you go and save them” and the families who understand when they need to be out saving people in distress. We simply couldn’t do it without all of them.” he says.

Mr Small also says it’s an opportune time to thank New Zealanders for their generosity to Coastguard during its first ever national ‘MayDay’ fundraising campaign that launched on May 1, 2011.

“In incredibly tough economic times, we were more than pleased with the result of the campaign. The support we received from our fellow Kiwis and our supporters and sponsors was fantastic. We couldn’t have done it without you – thank you.”


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