Coastguard answers calls for help in lockdown
Coastguard Volunteers across New Zealand remain ready to respond to on-water emergencies as the country prepares to move from level 4 to level 3 next Tuesday.
Under level 3, the Government has announced that a range of low risk, near shore activities are ok but that powered boating, jet-skiing and yachting are not allowed.
“As expected, we have seen a large reduction in the number of boats out on the water over the last four weeks,” says Coast Guard NZ CEO Callum Gillespie.
“While our volunteers have also stayed off the water, they have remained on call for emergencies throughout this period.
“During the Lockdown our volunteer crews have been involved in nine emergency responses, including six urgent medical transfers of confirmed and possible Covid-19 patients to hospital.
I am extremely grateful to our volunteers for leaving their families and their bubbles to carry out these vital tasks,” he says.
At level 3 people may take part in low risk, non-motorised activity on and in the water such as swimming, paddle-boarding, and kayaking, as long as they stay close to shore.
This includes accessing vessels on swing moorings for maintenance and safety reasons.
“With the seasons and weather changing, owners of boats on swing moorings will be wanting to check the mooring is in good order and that their vessel is watertight,” says Callum
“When undertaken in favourable conditions, this is a low risk activity.”
“We’re following advice from central Government and haven’t been involved in the policy making,” he adds.
“However like many keen boaties, and the many businesses that make their living in the marine industry, we look forward to seeing these constraints lifted as soon as possible.
He urges those taking part in low risk activities on or in the water to use common sense.
“Don’t do so in adverse weather conditions or at recognised danger spots such as beaches with large surf and known rips.”
Last April Coastguard volunteers attended 293 incidents where boaties required assistance, of those incidents, 32 were urgent life threatening jobs.
With many boats currently parked up in driveways, Coastguard recommends boaties use this time to ensure their boat and equipment, such as lifejackets and VHF radio’s, are sea worthy and ready for an eventual return to the water.
“We are looking forward to being able to support Kiwi boaties getting back out there and enjoying the water safely when the time is right,” says Callum.