Coastguard’s Mayday on Sunday

Unit manager at Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard Steve Russell is inviting the public to the tidal stairs on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Campbell

A close-up look at the Coastguard vessels and the chance to learn about Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard activities from the volunteers who keep the rescue group operating is taking place at the tidal stairs on the waterfront on Sunday, May 21.

It is the Tauranga volunteer coastguard’s Mayday event, says unit manager Steve Russell. The Mayday event is a reference to the marine distress call ‘Mayday’, and the first of May which is the start of the Coastguard’s winter fundraising.

The two rescue boats will be there for public inspection, TECT Rescue will be alongside the new pontoon, and the amphibious Sealegs will be on the waterfront near the Coastguard’s caravan and information centre.

“It’s an open day to show the public Coastguard and our vessels. People can come down and have a look and talk to the volunteers about what they do,” says Steve.

Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard will be at the tidal steps from 11am-2pm.

The organisation has 70 volunteers, runs a 24/7 radio watch and crews two rescue boats.

“Tauranga Coastguard is the biggest coastguard outside of Auckland, it’s a busy place. I’m amazed how many people believe we are Government funded, we are dependent on our wonderful volunteers and the generosity of the local community who donates to the cause,” says Steve.

Tauranga volunteers helped more than 300 people last year. They were called to 135 incidents and were involved in another 15 police-controlled search and rescue events.

The radio operators take the calls, the duty officers contact the skippers and crews – and out they go “Saving Lives at Sea”.