Call sparks Coastguard reminder for boaties

Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013

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Howick Coastguard spent more than six "unnecessary" hours searching for boaties who hadn't returned from their fishing trip.

At 9.51pm on February 21 Coastguard's Operations Centre received a phone call from a man reporting his brother and two friends hadn't returned from their fishing trip.

The three men had left Half Moon Bay at 4pm in their 4.5 metre boat and were meant to return by 9pm that night. But when the brother hadn't received a phone call to pick them up he raised the alarm.

There was no report of lifejackets or marine communications on the boat.

At 11pm after numerous attempts to contact them via cellphone the Howick Coastguard started a search and were joined at 12.33pm by North Shore volunteers.

They worked with the Westpac helicopter and police helicopter Eagle which searched through the night.

At 4.33am Coastguard got a text message from one of the boaties advising that they were safe and tied up to a jetty in Matiatia Bay, Waiheke.

The Coastguard alone spent 45 man-hours in the search.

Coastguard Northern Region duty officer Mark Leevers says, "this is a classic case of the unnecessary use of resources due to lack of communication from boaties".

It is important for boaties to carry two forms of waterproof communication on board.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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