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All volunteers are required to undergo training specific to the role they intend to undertake as a volunteer.

Role: Our Radio Operators are inevitably our first point of contact with boaties and therefore play an important role. Radio Operators man our daily radio schedules – keeping in touch with those heading out for a days boating and initiating assistance if required.
Training: Radio Operators are required to hold a VHF Licence. This is gained following a one day lecture which includes a short exam.

Having obtained your licence, trainees are required to attend a series of instructional workshops which take you through all aspects of being a radio operator including emergency procedures. Following training, you will be rostered on for duty. Each duty period would typically be 3 – 4 hours depending on the time of year. Ongoing training sessions are held as part of the Radio Operators monthly meetings.

Role: Crew operates the Coastguard Rescue Vessel (CRV). A typical mission for the CRV would be to provide assistance to a vessel that has lost motive power caused by mechanical, electrical or fuel problems. Emergency situations such as fire at sea, sinking and medical emergencies will also require the CRV to respond. These situations can occur at any time of the day or night and in all weather conditions. The duty crew is on call 24 / 7.

Training: To become Operational, Crew must complete the intensive Coastguard NZ Training curriculum. This takes some two years part time study. In addition crew are required to complete Boating Education courses including Day Skippers, GPS/Radar, VHF Licence and Inboard/Outboard Engine maintenance and a current Work Place First Aid Certificate.


The above training is interspersed with regular “on water” training carried out by one of our qualified Skippers. The Unit has two Training Officers who are responsible for the tutoring of most of the modules and courses. An outside agency is brought in for the First Aid Course. Fitness: Crew are required to have a reasonable level of fitness and agility.

Role: The Duty Officer has the role of directing all active  operations. When the Radio Operator receives a call from a vessel requiring assistance, he/she contacts the Duty Officer. The Duty Officer then evaluates the situation and if warranted, tasks the CVR and crew. In an emergency situation, the Duty Officer will call on the Police and or the N.Z.Rescue Coordination Center who take over management of the incident.


Training:  Duty Officers are trained to CIMS4 level (Coordinated Incident Management). We currently draw our Duty Officers from experienced crew or Radio Operators. New recruits to this role are trained and mentored by our current Duty Officers. A comprehensive Duty Officers Manual is provided. Duty Officers are expected to have boating experience, hold a VHF Licence and preferably have a Boat Masters Certificate.

Role: The SAR Controller directs operations for incidents requiring searches or in emergency situations. In the above situations, the SAR Controller will initiate the tasking of necessary agencies eg CRV, Police or Ambulance and then bring in N.Z. Rescue Coordination Center. At that point R.C.C.N.Z. would in all probability take over management of the operation with the SAR Controller responsible for Coastguard assets.

Training: The SAR Controller is a specialized role requiring intensive and specialised training This role requires that the incumbent has considerable boating experience and is familiar with the wider scope of Coastguard procedures. SAR Controllers are typically drawn from experienced Duty Officers.

Training Courses

Whangamata Volunteer Coastguard arranges boating courses for the public:


VHF Marine Radio.  It is compulsory for all users of Marine VHF radio to hold an          operator's certificate. This one day course includes the required assessment.


Day Skipper.  This 16 hour course, normally run over a weekend and covers the basics needed to operate a small craft safely and within the law. Content includes: Rules of the Road, Buoys and Beacons, Boat equipment and handling, Emergency situations, Interpreting charts, Navigation Safety rules, Weather and tides, and knot tying.


Boatmaster.  This is a more detailed course lasting around 32 hours and conducted as a    series of evening sessions. It expands on the Day Skipper syllabus and introduces new elements.


For course details and bookings please refer to the Coastguard Boating website:  (Ph0800 408090) or enquire at our headquarters (07 865 8800)

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