Levin-Waitarere Surf Life Saving Club will have a brand new Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) this summer after winning the 2020 bp Vote the Boat competition.
As the winning club, Levin-Waitarere will receive an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB), worth $25,000, as well as a Mercury outboard engine, trailer, fuel bladder, rescue tube, two lifejackets, two helmets and a bp gift card towards fuel costs.
During the two-week Vote the Boat national campaign, more than 8000 votes were cast, with Levin-Waitarere receiving the most public votes of the four finalist clubs. The other finalist clubs in the running were New Brighton, North Beach and Riversdale.
Levin-Waitarere Surf Life Saving Club chairman Andrew Parkin said the club was "over the moon" with the news.
"Our lifeguards have been training hard over the winter, this is a real shot in the arm and something to celebrate as the summer patrol season kicks off. On behalf of all our club members, I would like to thank all those who voted for Levin-Waitarere, and bp for making it happen," he said.
"Surf lifesaving clubs throughout New Zealand are equally deserving, we are so grateful that our community got behind the club and voted, it makes it just that bit more special knowing we have that support."
Levin-Waitarere Surf Life Saving Club has been saving lives for 67 years. Every summer, they use their IRBs to conduct rescues across the 23 kilometres of coastline they patrol.
The club had 122 active members and 42 volunteer surf lifeguards. Last summer the club was kept busy with an estimated total of 1086 hours spent patrolling the beach. During that time 355 preventative actions were also taken.
The Levin-Waitarere Beach club patrols a long stretch of beach. The new IRB will allow regular checks of the coastline while still having an IRB onsite with the regular Surf Life Saving Patrol and flagged areas.
Vehicles are allowed along the length of the beach, increasing the spread of ocean users along the coast and the club was in need of a new IRB to reach more people.
The beach population ballooned from hundreds to many thousands of people daily over the spring and summer months.
Surf Life Saving NZ CEO Paul Dalton says the Vote the Boat campaign is an incredible opportunity to showcase the hard work the lifeguards do for their communities and is an extremely valuable part of bp's partnership.
"For some clubs, upgrading or purchasing an IRB is financially very challenging. A fully equipped IRB costs a significant $25,000, so we're beyond grateful for bp's support. All four finalists were worthy recipients who submitted compelling applications and did a fantastic job of rallying votes for their clubs," he said.
"Congratulations to the winning club, Levin-Waitarere. We know your members are an amazing group of volunteers who do a superb job of keeping beach-goers safe and we're thrilled for you."
Bp New Zealand's managing director, Debi Boffa, thanked the thousands of New Zealanders who supported the Vote the Boat competition by casting their votes for the SLSNZ club they thought would benefit the most from this new IRB.
"It was awesome to see New Zealanders rally together again and get involved in Vote the Boat this year. We want to offer a huge congratulations to Levin-Waitarere and thank all of the other finalists for their incredible entries. We know this new Inflatable Rescue Boat will make a difference to keeping our beaches safe and contribute to the hundreds of lives saved each year using an IRB," she said.
Bp has been in partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand for 52 years and is 'In It For Life'. Bp's partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand includes an annual donation, a new Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) donated to one club each year (valued at $25,000), and an annual contribution towards fuel costs for every Surf Life Saving club around the country as well as support of other SLSNZ initiatives.
IRBs were a vital piece of equipment when it comes to surf lifesaving and since their introduction, have facilitated more than 23,968 rescues. This makes up a significant portion of the almost 57,000 lives saved since the start of bp's partnership with SLSNZ 52 years ago.