Napier's Peter Boshier has seen the Hawke's Bay Coastguard team grow to become a professional, and at times life-saving, part of the region's safety resources. A combination of generous sponsors, trusts, individuals, and the tireless dedication of the volunteer crew has made it something for the people of the Bay to be proud of. Roger Moroney spoke to Mr Boshier.
1: How long have you been involved with HB Volunteer Coastguard and have you always had a "thing" for the sea?
I have been involved with HBVCG (Coastguard Hawke's Bay) for over 12 years. I started work as a shipping agent at Mount Maunganui in 1970 and was there for three years before transferring to Wellington for two years. I took up a new shipping agency position in Napier in 1975. I have been involved with the marine scene now for well over 42 years. So yes, it's in the blood. I still own a boat and enjoy the relaxation of heading off for a fish. I have been the HBVCG's treasurer for the past three years and enjoy it.
2: Do you often get left shaking your head over some of the situations you hear about - in terms of lack of preparation or checks on weather?
Certainly, I can't believe the risks that some people take. The sea can be cruel and unforgiving, and it is extraordinary how quickly sea and weather conditions can change. All steps should be taken to reduce risks.
3: Would you like to see stricter regulations in terms of maritime safety - some sort of compulsory training or tests?
Coastguard provide regular courses like Day Skipper/Boat Masters/VHF and everyone going to sea should go through them - most importantly, all skippers. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources available to police any regulations that may apply in future. At the same time, we endeavour to provide as much information as possible in conjunction with the HB Regional Council, Maritime New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand. We are all volunteers. Therefore, if the policing of regulations was compulsory, then that may have to be done by a regulatory body - and that costs.
4: What is the number 1 safety rule boat users need to obey?
Our prime aim is to provide a professional Marine Search and Rescue (SAR) service to the public and community of Hawke's Bay, and any boatie leaving the shores should be fully conversant with safety in all facets of the environment that they are entering. Wearing of lifejackets is, I believe, the priority. How many drownings do you hear about where the person who drowned, or who was hopefully saved, was not wearing a lifejacket?
5: We're lucky to have the Bay at our doorstep - but do you think some boat users take it for granted when it comes to heading out there?
Yes, 99 per cent of boat users are aware of the benefits of being so close to the luxury of the ocean on our doorsteps, but it's the "fools who bend the rules" that cause concern. We do our best as volunteers to actively get out there and promote Coastguard. The support we receive is incredible, but nothing should be taken for granted. Treat the sea and its environs with respect.