Sumner Lifeboat aim to get community on board for $250k refit

The engines and drive systems on the all-weather vessel will be replaced. Photo: Blue Arrow Rescue
The engines and drive systems on the all-weather vessel will be replaced. Photo: Blue Arrow Rescue
Sumner Lifeboat is hoping to raise $60,000 in the next two months to replace the engines and drive systems in its long-range vessel - Blue Arrow Rescue.

Howard Nicholls. Photo: Supplied
Howard Nicholls. Photo: Supplied
Sumner Lifeboat board and crew member Howard Nicholls said the all-weather boat’s refit would mean Blue Arrow Rescue will be able to under take search and rescue operations for the next 15 years.

The cost of the refit is more than $250,000 but “generous” donations from funding bodies and the Coastguard’s capital fund had already contributed a large amount, leaving a $60,000 shortfall.

“The project will deliver extended reliability, more power, fuel efficiency and improvements to the boat’s handling. These all make a difference, especially on long-range search and rescue missions when the crew may be searching for a vessel in distress for many hours, miles out at sea,” said Nicholls.

Blue Arrow Rescue can travel from Motunau to the south of Banks Peninsula.

Although it’s a unit of Coastguard New Zealand, Sumner Lifeboat is an independent charity and must cover its own costs.

The crew are all volunteers who freely give their time to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Nicholls, who is a crew member, said it is a great team.

He said the crew is “giving back to the community with a search and rescue operation on their doorstep.”

Sumner Lifeboat is now hoping for community help to meet the funding shortfall.

“Blue Arrow Rescue has played a vital role in saving lives at sea,” said Nicholls.

In 2019, Sumner Lifeboat was called out at 1am to search for a sinking trimaran yacht south of the Banks Peninsula.

Photo: Blue Arrow Rescue
Photo: Blue Arrow Rescue
“Blue Arrow Rescue’s volunteer crew faced heavy seas, pitch-black conditions and a three-hour journey to the target area,” said Nicholls.

The yacht was located and the solo sailor was transferred to Blue Arrow Rescue and returned to Sumner safely.

The yacht sank several hours later.

“All credit to the crew and rescue vessel, a life was saved at sea that night,” said Nicholls.

•To donate, visit

•To learn more about the fundraiser and the vital role Sumner Lifeboat plays in saving lives at sea, phone Howard Nicholls on 027 545 9105 or Christine Toner - 027 433 9598.   



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