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AVOCO helps skipper community contribution for new rescue vessel
1 May 2017

AVOCO’s chance to take a leading role in helping equip the Waihi Beach community with a state-of-the-art rescue vessel is being described as nothing short of ‘humbling’ by its directors.

More than 70 people were on hand at the beachside community in March when AVOCO Rescue was officially blessed by Pio Formby, of Otawhiwhi Marae, and welcomed into the Waihi Beach Coastguard’s rescue fleet at its Bowentown headquarters.

Key dignitaries in attendance included Coromandel MP Scott Simpson, Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor Garry Webber and Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust trustee Peter Blackwell.

The $197,000 purpose-built vessel is a key acquisition for the Western Bay of Plenty organisation in helping provide full coverage of the Waihi beach area – both at sea and in the Northern Tauranga harbour.

AVOCO Rescue is the fifth rescue vessel in the voluntary organisation’s 27-year history, and is a 5.8m Naiad-designed RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat), powered by twin 115hp Yamaha outboards.

It replaces Search Two, a 5.5m long vessel, which since being launched in 2003 clocked up more than 1000 hours on the water, and joins Coastguard’s primary vessel ‘Gallagher Rescue’, a 9.5m Naiad powered by twin 250hp Yamaha four stroke outboards.

The vessel is a result of a partnership between AVOCO, TECT, The Lion Foundation, First Sovereign Trust, Valder Ohinemuri Trust and the Western Bay of Plenty Coastguard unit.

AVOCO, the leading New Zealand avocado export company, is a key contributor having pledged an annual sponsorship contribution of $20,000 for three years which will go towards Coastguard’s yearly operational costs as well as the running costs of AVOCO Rescue.

“It is humbling to be closely connected with such a vital voluntary organisation in the local community,” says AVOCO director John Carroll. 

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of any community and their efforts often go unrecognised. This vessel is the recognition of public gratitude and we are proud to be involved.”

Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust trustee Peter Blackwell labelled AVOCO Rescue a “game changer” in providing an accessible service to ensure all Kiwis enjoy our maritime playground safely.

With more than half of the 200 rescues performed along the stretch of Western Bay of Plenty coastline in 2016 involving people from the greater part of the North Island, this is a vital upgrade.

“The community that you serve goes a lot further than Waihi Beach,” says Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor Garry Webber.

“Each of your calls starts off as someone in strife and a lot of people you have helped come from far and wide. These people are forever grateful for this service.” 

Coromandel MP Scott Simpson says the new vessel is the physical manifestation of the tremendous support shown by the community for these efforts.

“The time, effort and energy you as volunteers give to the community is massive. AVOCO Rescue is a great new asset for the wider community.”

The fleet expansion means Coastguard now has the capability to cover two completely different areas, with Gallagher Rescue overseeing the Bowentown Bar, one of the most notorious in New Zealand, and AVOCO Rescue protecting the channels and shallow areas of the Northern Tauranga Harbour.

 

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