Things can change in a matter of moments on New Zealand's turbulent waters.
Today the team puts aside drills and equipment checks after receiving a call on the Coastguard communications channel to tow a boat stranded off Okahu Bay.
Coastguard skipper Alan Martin says most callouts are for flat batteries and empty fuel tanks but even the simple jobs can be hazardous.
"There is such potential for things to go south on the sea at any moment from before we get there to throughout the rescue," Mr Martin says.
Now the team has to master a tricky connection to the tow ropes, manoeuvre through a brutal undercurrent and squeeze under the Ngapipi Rd Bridge.
Howick Coastguard members have logged 8478 volunteer hours and attended 197 callouts so it is second nature to assess the situation then act.
And they manage to do it while keeping up the classic Kiwi bloke banter.
"Just put some Vaseline on the top of the boat, we'll slip right under Ngapipi bridge," Mr Martin says.
The rescued boaties, who are left rolling in the waters of Auckland Harbour after an unknown mechanical fault, are more than grateful for the brotherly attitude and assistance.
But they are left wondering what to do with their suddenly clear schedule.
"Buy a lotto ticket," says relieved boatie Brian Shaw - it is always a lucky day when the Coastguard is able to arrive for assistance.
He says he is glad to have his Coastguard membership which makes dealing with the mishap easier and the assistance, free.
Mr Martin says being a member is comparable to belonging to the Automobile Association and keeps $280 an hour in the boaties' pocket.
"It's just a little bit of an insurance policy for not a lot of money and it is a bit more important than your car because when you are at sea you can't just get out of your boat and walk home," he says.
All members of Howick's Coastguard live within 10 minutes of the beach.
They are ready to drop everything the second they get a call.
Mr Martin says Coastguards go through vigorous training and it takes a year for a new member to be fully trained.
"When you are in the dark of night, with the wind howling around you, ropes in the water, people in the water, you want to know that the guy standing next to you has got your back," Mr Martin says.
Helmsman Justin Jury says there have been a few tough call outs lately. All the members say the hard situations are part of the job and it can be an adrenaline rush when they are caught up in the thick of it.
The Howick Coastguard will be launching its boat about 100 times for rescues this summer if past years are anything to go by.
Its tractor is refurbished and back to its glossy self, training is up to scratch and every "must-do" is crossed off the list so the chapter is firing on all cylinders.
Mr Martin knows it will not be all smooth sailing this summer.
Nationwide the Coastguard rescued 6634 New Zealanders who found themselves in troubled waters in the past year and brought home 45 dead bodies.
These statistics have prompted a new campaign pushing key boating safety messages for the coming summer.
Five simple rules that can save lives are:
Take and wear lifejackets
Take a VHF radio
Check the marine weather forecast
Do not drink alcohol before boating or while on the water.
- © Fairfax NZ News