He's saved stricken boaties. He's rescued children and adults blown out on to Lake Taupō in kayaks and inflatables. In 2012, he plucked a drowning man to safety just as he began to slip under the water. His crew describe him as "a bossy bugger" - but he's a good one.
Now Allan Turia's efforts have been recognised with the national Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year award by Coastguard New Zealand.
Allan, from Coastguard Tūrangi, not only won the award for his region, Eastern region, which has some 13 Coastguard units, he was then was put forward for, and won, the national award against the four other Coastguard regions.
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The award commends a volunteer crew member of a rescue vessel who "exemplifies the commitment, skills and dedication required to contribute to the successful operation of a rescue vessel".
Last year Allan put in 143.5 hours for Coastguard, plus more that were not registered. The members of the Coastguard Tūrangi unit described his dedication as "over the top" in everything he does.
That includes organising the weekly training sessions, ensuring the Coastguard Tūrangi vessel and truck are maintained, the log books kept, crews coming off the water checked, training hours recorded and drills completed.
Allan also mentors all crew members, gives everyone on the rescue vessel professional training and ensures everyone has practice at all the stations.
In addition, Allan was lauded for his ability to deliver the practical parts of the Coastguard training clearly and concisely and for his commitment to the Southern Lake Taupō community and to Coastguard.
All this felt a bit much for the modest Tūrangi man, whose day job is as station support officer at the Tūrangi Police Station and whose Coastguard involvement is wholly voluntary.
In fact, Allan had no plans to attend the national awards ceremony in Auckland - he had already skipped the regional awards because it was his brother's birthday and in his book, family come first - but says he came under serious pressure to make an appearance.
In the end his wife, Lynn, had to tell him to stop being "a stubborn egg" and go.
So he made the trip to Auckland, where he received a handsome glass award to go alongside the carved award he had already been given by Eastern region Coastguard.
And he admits he was "totally ecstatic and delighted" to receive it, although he adds that's not what he joined Coastguard for.
Allan got into Coastguard in 2002 after taking up his job at the police station, where one staff member was already a Coastguard volunteer.
"I was talking to a couple of guys here and one said 'what's your background?' And I said '22 years in the Navy' and he said 'have I got the job for you!'
"So he picked me up and we went out in the boat and said 'here you go, you have a drive' and then he said, 'here's your set of keys, we'll get you a skipper's training as soon as we can'."
As well as being a Coastguard skipper, Allan was also the unit's training officer for a time but has since handed that job over to Juliet Clarke.
He says his approach to recruiting and retaining crew is to let them help. Taking people out on the boat and letting them have a go it is his secret to getting people hooked.
"Once you sign up, I train you to drive the boat. It's not the way Coastguard does it, it's the way I do it. Our minimum numbers are skipper plus one operational crew member so if we get a trainee to come along then they're going to be doing something important on the boat, which may be the driving."
Coastguard Tūrangi operates on southern Lake Taupō and has had eight callouts so far this year, nine last year and 13 the year before.
Allan has been involved in numerous rescues. Some were relatively simple searches for boats blown out on to the lake but others have been near-death situations, including one in 2012 where the Coastguard vessel arrived just in time for Allan to pluck a drowning man from the lake as he began to slip under the water.
He jokes that callouts always seem to come when he's just cracked open a beer or the start whistle's about to blow on an All Blacks game. Most Coastguard callouts are when it's "dark, cold and windy".
"When everyone else is going home, that's when we're going out."
The Coastguard Tūrangi unit fluctuates between seven and 13 active members and numbers rise and fall when people arrive in or leave town. More volunteers are always needed and Allan says it's enjoyable, not onerous.
Since Juliet's arrival he's been able to hand over the training role and now just looks after the on-water training and skippering the boat.
"I'm in my happy place when I'm on the water, that's why I've been in for so long and most of the guys like it, they're constantly learning and learning new stuff."
While the unit is currently all-male, there have been times when women have outnumbered men and Allan says he would be happy to have another crew of women if possible.
"They are fantastic and a totally different mindset from the boys."
* To find out more about joining Coastguard Tūrangi, pop in and see Allan at Tūrangi Police Station.