Coastguard Kapiti Coast clocked up a record number of volunteer hours in the last year.

Secretary Brian Kessell said the unit registered 7587 volunteer hours which was a 100 per cent increase from the year before.

The record number of volunteer hours was made up from a variety of factors.

During Covid-19 level 4 and 3 restrictions, three members maintained radio listening watches on the Marine Safety channel in case there were any issues on the water.

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There were a handful of Search and Rescue operations, in conjunction with police, which mainly involved towing vessels.

One included towing a vessel to Pukerua Bay which used 15 volunteer hours comprising onboard crew and land based radio operations.

"It's quite amazing how quickly the hours build up.

"And it just means we're doing our job."

Skipper Mark Davidson, left, secretary Brian Kessell, tractor operator Steve Cropp, and new life member Pete Dixon who has done 33 years with the unit. Photo / David Haxton
Skipper Mark Davidson, left, secretary Brian Kessell, tractor operator Steve Cropp, and new life member Pete Dixon who has done 33 years with the unit. Photo / David Haxton

There were 11 Coastguard operations which again mainly consisted of towing other vessels.

And a lot of volunteer hours were spent on public education, fundraising, training and administration.

The year also saw the addition of a new vessel, called Freemasons Rescue, which has proved its worth.

"It has got a lot of towing power and is quite amazing."

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The new tractor, which takes Freemasons Rescue in and out of the water, has four wheel drive power which has meant it hasn't got stuck.

But because the tractor is low to the ground, salt water has been spraying up into its innards causing issues with the electronic equipment.

Various options are being discussed to rectify the issue.

Meanwhile the unit will be refurbishing their Waikanae Beach vessel called K2.

"We've had that for 10 years and it has been a capable machine.

"We're upgrading all the electronics on it."

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The unit meets on the first Saturday of every month to clean and check the vessels and equipment.

"By doing that we make sure all our gear is up to standard."

Personnel wise the unit was strong, including three more people who have become senior crew operators, but there were opportunities for new people to join and start training.

"But they have to show a commitment to Coastguard.

"We've had a lot of people start but not carry on because the training is quite intense and we want to make sure we've got the best people available on the water for our community who we look after."

Excitement is also building for the unit's latest fundraiser featuring guest speaker Davey Hughes, who is the man behind the Swazi outdoor clothing label.

The evening will take place in the Waikanae Boating Club, 97 Tutere St, Waikanae, on October 21 from 7pm.

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Tickets, which cost $35 per person including finger food, are available via Waikanae Boating Club and Kapiti Boating Club or by phoning Jeff Watts on 027 398 5007.