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Local law firm answers mayday call from Tauranga Coastguard

29 April 2016

Tauranga Coastguard crew members will hit the water this winter buoyant with an extra layer of GPS safety, thanks to one Tauranga law firm pledging financial assistance to the Coastguard's annual appeal month.

This Sunday marks the sixth annual MayDay Rescue Appeal, with the call once again going out to the public to donate to Coastguard crews, so they have the necessary equipment and skills needed to rescue Kiwis in times of distress on the water.

It's a call Harris Tate Lawyers has answered, eager to bolster its relationship with the Tauranga branch of the marine-based charity, alongside its legal advice on a pro bono basis.

This time Harris Tate is funding the purchase of eight Automatic Identification System modules – part of a $60,000 upgrade and refurbishment Tauranga Coastguard is undertaking this year on its primary rescue vessel, TECT Rescue.

The additional modules will enable each crew member on-board to wear one, eliminating any risk should someone fall overboard. In such an instance, the AIS module sets off an alarm and logs the individual's GPS position – making it easier to locate them, especially during bad weather or at night. This is particularly relevant now with the onset of winter months.

“It is fantastic to be able to support Coastguard and its members with state-of-the-art rescue gear. They risk their lives to save others; it is the least we can do,” says Harris Tate director and Tauranga Coastguard advocate Oliver Moorcroft.

“These are regular people who have regular jobs like the rest of us. However, they're ready to drop everything to come to your rescue when you need them most.

“As Kiwis we all should be able to enjoy time on the water, and we mustn't forget those who help keep us safe. It is just as essential they return to their loved ones at the end of a shift.”

Tauranga Coastguard operations manager Simon Barker is rapt with the financial support offered by Harris Tate and admits it's the perfect start to the annual appeal month.

Each year, the national body needs to raise more than $11 million to support its volunteers with rescue gear, training, medical supplies and back office support. It receives only 15 per cent of its funds from the Government, while the other 85 per cent comes from organisations and individuals who recognise the importance of their work.

“Without the generosity of the public and organisations, such as Harris Tate, we literally wouldn't be able to keep afloat,” says Simon.

He says the eight AIS modules demonstrate a real commitment towards the safety of their volunteers while they're out assisting others.

Coastguard's annual MayDay appeal starts this Sunday, May 1, and runs to May 10.

For information on donations, visit www.coastguard.nz/get-involved/how-i-can-help/
(Photo by Bruce Barnard, Weekend Sun)