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Raising funds a challenge as Coastguard launches appeal

October 2019

Help Coastguard bring Kiwis home
Raising funds a challenge as Coastguard launches annual appeal

Ian Hurlock at the Coastguard Awards of Excellence where Maketu won the coveted Coastguard Unit of the Year

Demand for Coastguard services remains high with rescue vessels launching 2,899 times around New Zealand last year, bringing 6,774 people – parents, grandparents, children - home safely to their families – an average of 18 people every day.

To help meet the $20 million it needs a year to operate, Coastguard will launch its Annual Appeal, from 20 October – 3 November 2019. Money raised from the public will be used for everything from maintaining rescue vessels and on-shore services to training volunteers and helping them to continue their life-saving efforts in providing professional marine and rescue services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.

Ian Hurlock knows all too well how vital Coastguard is after his son Steen was rescued in 2016. Steen launched his kayak off Matata and was about 2km from the shore when his kayak began to fill with water. “He pulled the anchor away and tried to paddle in, but the water went to the back and, the kayak went down backwards. He said to me after, ‘I didn’t have much left in the tank, I’d just about had it,’” says Ian.

Using a VHF radio his father had bought him for Christmas, Steen managed to make a mayday call to Coastguard and guide them to his position.

Ian was so grateful to the Maketu Coastguard team for bringing his son home; he signed up to become a volunteer. “I quite often say to people, I owe Coastguard my soul -their volunteers don’t just save lives they save families.”

Coastguard really is essential. You never know when you’re going to get into trouble. Coastguard is all about keeping the community safe and helping people out. Never be afraid to give us a call,” says Ian.

Coastguard Fundraising Manager, Jo Cowie says the volunteers are the heart of the organisation, they dedicate hours of time to bring people home to their families. Without them, there would be no Coastguard. “Our volunteers are extremely good at what they do. As a country, we can be incredibly proud to have this service, but raising funds is a constant challenge.”

Just over 11% of Coastguard funding comes from the government with the remaining 89% ($18 million), having to be raised by Coastguard and its volunteers.
Last year Coastguard New Zealand saved 26 lives and rescued thousands of others who would have rapidly got into worse trouble.

“Our volunteers carry out 55 rescues every week, and then go back to their day jobs. They help to reunite families and loved ones. If people run into trouble out on the water, we assist them and get them back to safety. Coastguard volunteers save lives and stop families suffering the immeasurable loss of a loved one. We want everyone to know we’re just a phone call away,” says Jo.

Coastguard has 1,988 professional volunteers and are based at 63 units across the country. Volunteers spend hundreds of thousands of hours on search and rescue missions, radio operations, training and maintenance work each year. They undergo regular training to ensure they can handle a variety of situations out on the water. This can be anything from a boat’s engine not starting, searching for missing people, locating drifting vessels or medical emergencies.

Support the Coastguard Annual Appeal (20 October – 3 November 2019), donate now by visiting

About Coastguard New Zealand
Coastguard is New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service situated at 63 different locations around the country. It is a charitable organisation that is independent from government relying on volunteers, donors and supporters to operate. It has nearly 2,000 active search and rescue volunteers who provide around 300,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. Last year, Coastguard performed nearly 3,000 rescues to bring 6,774 New Zealanders home safely. All crew members on board Coastguard vessels and air patrol craft are trained search and rescue volunteers working to enhance the safety of all New Zealanders when they participate in boating and water activities. Find Coastguard on Facebook at

Coastguard statistics 2019
• 1,988 – professional volunteers
• 291,482 – hours given by volunteers
• 2,899 – rescues carried out
• 6,774 – New Zealanders brought home safely
• 292,070 – radio calls received


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