One of the core services that can be called on of any Coastguard Unit is our Search and Rescue capability.
Our dedicated volunteers are on call 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, to go to the assistance of someone at risk on the water.
Our Mission Statement, is Saving Lives at Sea, and it is something we take very seriously. We are one of the main resources that can be called upon by the Police, or Rescue Co-ordination Centre of New Zealand, to go to the aid of a stricken vessel. Sometimes this may include a prolonged search for a vessel as a result of someone reporting a flare sighting, a boat taking on water or on fire. We also sometimes assist with evacuating people with injuries from a boat or an island. There are many other types of incident that we may be called to, and we never know when it might happen.
Because we have these resources available to us, we are also able to offer a service to boat owners who support us, by becoming a member of our unit, whereby we can go to their assistance in the event of problems with their boat. This regularly includes flat batteries, of lack of fuel, or other mechanical problems.
As we are not directly funded by the Government we rely heavily on our membership and other donations, to enable us the be ready and waiting in the event of a life threatening situation unfolding.
Tauranga Coastguard was originally born out of the Tauranga Marine Radio Association, who ran a radio service for the boating community of Tauranga. That radio service lives on today out of our radio room at our headquarters building. We are able to maintain a 24hr, 365 day per year service, thanks to the dedicated service of our radio operators, and to our colleagues in the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre.
Our operators work in shifts, and we monitor a number of VHF channels.
We have recently updated some of our radio equipment, and we now have the facility to cover other Coastguard radio operations covering the Bay of Plenty to Hawkes Bay, and the central North Island lakes.
We log all our calls on a computer system, as well as recording details of any incident that we attend.
Although we are not an education establishment itself, we do run a monthly Maritime Restricted Operators Certificate (VHF radio licence) course, using some of our volunteers who are qualified tutors, and also provide facilities for other boating courses run by tutors sanctioned by the Coastguard Boating Education Service. Any information regarding these courses can also be obtained by calling our office during daytime hours, or checking out the CBES website.
Every vessel is required to have a Callsign. These are issued by the Coastguard Boating Education Service. They cost $45, and are yours for life, although they can be passed on when you sell your boat.
They can be issued and paid for online at the CBES website, or over the phone by calling 0800 40 80 90.