Press Release – Mango Communications
Crew from Coastguard’s Waihi Beach Unit put their skills to the test on Wednesday night during a training exercise involving Rena, the stricken container vessel which hit the Astrolabe Reef in the Tauranga Harbour on Wednesday morning.MEDIA RELEASE
07 October 2011
Coastguard Waihi Beach Crew Participate In Night Training Exercise
Crew from Coastguard’s Waihi Beach Unit put their skills to the test on Wednesday night during a training exercise involving Rena, the stricken container vessel which hit the Astrolabe Reef in the Tauranga Harbour on Wednesday morning.
Asked to assist with getting helpers out to the vessel, Coastguard’s crew of four set out from Waihi Beach at 8.00pm aboard rescue vessel, Search One.
Coastguard Waihi Beach Vice President, Murray Whitehead, says the opportunity to be involved provided a great platform for the volunteers to experience a night time rescue mission.
“Providing our volunteers with the best training and education possible is always of the most utmost importance to Coastguard. Being able assist in a real life situation of this magnitude rarely happens on our shores and it presents a great opportunity for us to up-skill our crew,” he says.
Wednesday night’s training involved testing the volunteers’ nocturnal navigation skills, close quarter manoeuvring, situational awareness and transferring people between vessels.
“We spent a total of six hours on the water so it was a long night for our volunteers but the practical experience that the crew gained from this exercise was invaluable.”
The Waihi Beach Unit, which is home to 32 volunteers and two rescue vessels, has also been busy off the water raising money for a new rescue vessel to replace Search One – a fundraising effort that has been several years in the making.
With the Unit assisting over 80 people and volunteers donating 5,827 hours of their time over the past year to keeping Kiwis safe on the water, Whitehead says that a new vessel is vital in helping the unit to continue their work of saving lives at sea in the local community that is continuing to grow.
“Our volunteers risk their lives every day to save lives at sea and they don’t expect anything in return. It is only fair that for their efforts, they recieve the right training and equipment they need to do the job safely and confidently.”
The unit has raised over $460,000 to date with an addtional $40,000 needed before the vessel build can begin.
For information on how you can make a donation to Coastguard Waihi Beach, visit www.waihibeachcoastguard.co.nz