The Waimarie Paddle Steamer has a new passenger on board, in the form of a new Heart Saver AED7000.

The automated external defibrillator was won for the Waimarie after trustee Val Vurtrum nominated it in a "Become a Heart Saver" campaign run by Heart Saver New Zealand.

Waimarie manager Ann Petherick was shocked and pleased to win it.

"If somebody has a heart attack up on the Waimarie, they can't get the ambulance there on the river, so of course this is going to help us," she said. "It's going to give people with dicky tickers a bit of security."

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Ms Petherick has not seen or heard of anybody having a heart attack on board in her two years in charge, but said that people had fallen ill on board from time to time.

All of the crew on board the paddle steamer have their first aid certficates, meaning they are all qualified to use the defibrillator that arrived two weeks ago.

The AED does not stay on board, but will have limited use to the wider public.

"We bring it into the office when we're not sailing, so it's sitting in here with me right now," Ms Petherick said.

"If someone rushed in to use it, we certainly wouldn't deny them the use of it, but it's difficult to advertise that we have it here, as it's only here when the boat's not sailing."

Directors of Heart Saver New Zealand Mike and Helen Mander wrote in a letter to Ms Petherick: "You strike us as being a very deserving recipient and we hope that the Heart Saver AED7000 serves your community well.

"We truly hope that you never have to use it, but at least you know you have one on hand in case of emergency."