Lotteries puts in $300,000 for boat
Bluff Coastguard has received a massive funding boost for a bigger and faster boat that it needs to save lives in Foveaux Strait.
President Andy Johnson said the coastguard was pleasantly surprised at the amount granted by the Lottery Grants Board.
"We expected $50,000, but they gave us $300,000," he said.
The coastguard has budgeted about $1.2 million for the boat, which it aims to have on the water within 18 months.
So far it had raised more than $400,000, Mr Johnson said.
The current boat is too small to go into rougher seas on Foveaux Strait.
"The boat at the moment restricts us with the kind of weather we can go out in . . . with the Easy Rider [tragedy], if it had been any rougher, we would not have been able to go out safely."
No fundraising efforts were planned for the moment, but an application has been lodged with the New Zealand Community Trust and further funding applications would be decided soon.
"We've identified potential funders . . it's not what you know, it's who you know.
"This grant has buoyed us with a bit of confidence," Mr Johnson said.
"Our professional volunteers are the heart and soul of what Coastguard does, so it's imperative we have the safest, most robust vessels available to them, not only for carrying out their search and rescue missions, but to protect their own safety in all weather conditions as well."
The Bluff Coastguard had seen an increase in traffic on Foveaux Strait, bringing 33 people back to safety in the year ended June 30 this year.
AT A GLANCE
Current boat: Length – 8.5 metres; outboard petrol engine; carries up to 12 people
New boat: Length – 13 metres; jet-propelled diesel engine; carries 20 to 24 people
Funding so far: $300,000 from Lotteries; $100,000 from fundraising efforts; $50,000 expected when current boat is sold; $10,000 from Rotary
Still needed: About $740,000
The new boat will be more reliable and have a bigger deck, making it easier to use helicopter assistance in rescues, and it will be able to carry an inflatable support boat. The new boat will have a platform at water level to make it easier to rescue people from the water.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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