The work of Coastguard Clyde is as diverse as the patch it works in.
Any given season will see its “professional volunteers” towing boats and stranded jet-skis on Lake Dunstan, conducting river searches for missing people and helping rescue cyclists injured on the region’s lakeside cycle trails.
Protecting people on the district’s waterways is a big mission, but the small team of Coastguard Clyde volunteers continually rise to the challenges different.
One of the country’s most landlocked marine rescue services, the organisation is raising funds for a new custom-built rescue vessel.
Coastguard teams throughout New Zealand are getting ex-America’s Cup AC36 rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) funded by Lotto NZ, however those were not fit for purpose for the Clyde-based organisation, Coastguard Clyde president James Robinson said.
“We need a jet boat that will carry enough people to carry a stretcher.
“The boat we have at the moment is designed for one or two crew in the surf to pull somebody out of the water and pull them straight back to shore.”
The boat, sourced from Sumner in 2006, was “incredibly well maintained” however was not the first choice of boat for the areas the organisation serviced, he said.
“[We need] a boat to be able to service the rivers and the two lakes, especially Lake Dunstan and Lake Roxburgh,” Mr Robinson said.
This summer had been one of the busiest for the organisation, with a wide range of callouts.
“It’s been a very busy season, the cycle trail has contributed to some of it, I’m sure Covid has had something to do with people’s mental health and that sort of thing.”
Secretary Barrie Wills said the organisation was looking to raise $300,000 to $500,000 for a new rescue vessel, trailer and four-wheel-drive vehicle.
“Basically our boat, it’s the oldest one in the fleet at this point in time,” he said.
“It’s done us very well but it is getting dated and it does have restrictions in terms of rescue capability, so .. yeah, we really need a new boat.”
Applications to funding organisations were in progress and Coastguard New Zealand would also be partially funding the boat, he said.
Covid-19 had impacted on Coastguard Clyde’s usual fundraising outlets so Givealittle page had been set up at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-fund-a-replacement-rescue-vessel-coastguard