With summer just around the corner, the Coastguard is appealing for funds to keep boaties safe.

The demand for New Zealand's Coastguard remains immense with the service rescuing 6774 people last year - an average of 18 people per day.

Yet the cost to keep it running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, comes to $20 million.

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Only 11 per cent of that is provided by the Government, leaving $18m to be raised each year by Coastguard volunteers. So last week the service launched its annual appeal, which runs through until next Sunday.

The funds go towards maintaining rescue vessels and on-shore services, to training the 2000 Coastguard volunteers.

And as Kiwi boaties get ready for a summer on the water, the service has revealed it saved about 26 lives in 2018 from across their 63 New Zealand bases.

Ian Hurlock owes his son Steen's life to Coastguard, after he was rescued 2km off the Matata coast after his kayak began to fill with water in 2016.

Hurlock has become a Coastguard volunteer in gratitude.

"I quite often say to people, I owe Coastguard my soul," he says.

"Their volunteers don't just save lives they save families. Coastguard really is essential. You never know when you're going to get into trouble."

The funds go towards maintaining rescue vessels and on-shore services, to training the 2000 Coastguard volunteers.
The funds go towards maintaining rescue vessels and on-shore services, to training the 2000 Coastguard volunteers.

Coastguard's fundraising manager Jo Cowie said its volunteers dedicated "hours of time to bring people home to their families".

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"They help to reunite families and loved ones. If people run into trouble out on the water, we assist them and get them back to safety. Coastguard volunteers save lives and stop families suffering the immeasurable loss of a loved one. We want everyone to know we're just a phone call away."