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Coastguard Dunedin’s new A36 Protector arrived at Otago Harbour yesterday after a five-day journey south from Wellington.
Coastguard Dunedin president John Campbell was one of two skippers who brought the boat down, leaving Timaru yesterday morning at 7.30am.
The new vessel represented a step up for Dunedin’s coastguard, Mr Campbell said.
At 12.5m long, the new boat was bigger, better and had 700 horsepower on the back, he said.
It was broad-beamed and stable enough for a helicopter to hover overhead safely during rescues.
It was equipped with thermal imaging cameras to assist in searches.
It had a salvage pump so that if a boat was sinking, the coastguard could pump it dry.
Ultimately, the new vessel could help to extend the range of the Dunedin coastguard’s rescues, he said.
At present, Coastguard Dunedin operated from south of Taieri Mouth to Shag Point, but he believed the coastguard now had the ability to respond to rescues as far north as the Waitaki River mouth, Mr Campbell said.
Before the trip home, Mr Campbell and Coastguard Dunedin skipper Barry Harwood renewed their skipper’s tickets in a screaming 38-knot gale in Cook Strait last Sunday.
The two skippers and three crew then brought the boat home from Wellington, via Kaikoura, Lyttelton and Timaru to Dunedin yesterday.
Before arriving at the Otago Yacht Club the crew stopped at Portobello, where the volunteer coastguard began as Harbour Rescue Inc in 2005, he said.
Moana Rescue is one of 26 new coastguard vessels from a partnership between Coastguard, Lotto New Zealand and Emirates Team New Zealand.
They were built using a $9.8million lottery grant for use at the 36th America’s Cup as support vessels and chase boats.
Coastguard Dunedin spent $35,000 refitting its new boat so it would be capable of coastguard rescue work, Mr Campbell said.
The group’s present boat Dunedin Rescue would now be sold.
The proceeds from the sale would go to fit out the coastguard’s new building in Kitchener St, he said.