Strong crew numbers for summer

By: Dave Tilley

The past few weeks have seen the Hibiscus Coastguard Unit become increasingly busy. Last Sunday saw a very early start for one of our crews that started with a call from our operations room the previous evening. As Hibiscus was the duty rescue vessel for the area on the Sunday we were made aware of a yacht that started taking on water on the Saturday evening, they had come down hard off a wave and cracked their keel and were taking on water. They were able to keep the incoming water at bay with bilge pumps and temporary repairs and anchored overnight off Motuihe Island. As the yacht was based at the Panmure Yacht Club, the skipper wanted to make use of the full tide at 07.30 to ensure that the keel did not hit anything else on the way into their berth. This meant a 05.30 departure for the Hibiscus Coastguard crew to shadow the yacht back to Panmure to and be available if they needed any urgent assistance. At their home port, the damaged yacht was met by the skipper’s very relieved parents and their dog, all very happy to see them back.

While the yacht managed to return to its base without requiring our assistance, the skipper’s prudent actions meant that Coastguard would be immediately on hand if anything untoward happened. We often come across situations where people have decided to take a chance and it then turns into an emergency situation, so were more than happy to provide the backup and peace of mind that the skipper required.

The day did not end then for the Hibiscus crew, as we were tasked to assist another yacht back to Hobsonville Marina. The sole sailor had sailed the yacht to Kauri Point, but mechanical and electrical issues meant he was unable to use the motor to navigate the twisty channel to the Marina in a strengthening wind. We soon had the yacht barged up next to our rescue vessel in fairly challenging conditions and delivered safely onto its berth.

The next task was towing a converted fishing trawler with gearbox problems from its anchorage just outside the Marine Rescue Centre in Mechanics Bay back to Hobsonville Marina.  This was a heavy vessel and the choppy sea meant a slow tow.

A tired crew then returned to Gulf Harbour, 10 hours after departing!

Currently we have the highest number of operational crew that we have had in many years, which will see us able to respond to any situation when the pager goes off.

From all of us at Coastguard Hibiscus, have a fantastic Christmas and I am sure that all of us are looking forward to fantastic New Year.

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