Whanganui man Trevor Gibson has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to maritime safety.

It's a fitting tribute for a man who, as a boy in his hometown of Lyttleton, used to "wag" school to go out on the fishing trawlers.

"I couldn't wait to go straight into commercial fishing as soon as I finished school," he said.

In 1948 his sea travels brought him to Whanganui where he met Elaine, the woman who was to become his wife, on a blind date. He later moved to Whanganui.


Mr Gibson has packed a lot into his life and, at the age of 85, he's slowed down only a little.

He's a former commercial fisherman, Whanganui harbour master and officer in the Sea Cadets. He's still involved with the Sea Cadets as a civilian instructor.

Mr Gibson chaired the Whanganui Water Safety Committee from 1987 to 1999, and was made a life member of Whanganui Coastguard in 1998.

He has taught boating safety courses for Coastguard and the Ministry of Transport, and was an examiner for Coastguard.

In 1998 he retired after 40 years as a marine search and rescue adviser.

Mr Gibson was involved with the restoration of the PS Waimarie, and has been the water safety officer for three local rowing clubs.

Mr Gibson said his service stems from a passion for boats and water safety.

His Queen's Service Medal is the latest in a list of awards: Coastguard Excellence Awards (2008), Exceptional Adult Tutor Award (2000, 2004) and Ministry of Transport Award for small boat safety (1986).

Mr Gibson said he was "out of breath" when he found out about the award.

"I got the letter in April and I was elated."