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May 2019

Auckland Coastguard honoured at NZ Search & Rescue Awards

Volunteers with Auckland Coastguard have been recognised at this year’s New Zealand Search and Rescue Awards held at Parliament this week.

Congratulations to Jo Norgrove who received a Certificate of Achievement for her services to Coastguard and Search and Rescue.

Auckland Coastguard was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Operational Activity for their involvement in the rescue of a badly injured yachtsman near Waiheke Island in March last year.

Pictured from L to R: Jo Norgrove, Chris Griggs and Lynne Jacobsen

Coastguard Auckland volunteers Chris Griggs and Lynne Jacobsen received the award on behalf of the rest of the unit at the awards ceremony held in Wellington.

Griggs says it was an honour to accept the award on behalf of the unit. “This rescue was a real team effort,” says Griggs. “We had no idea of the severity of the man’s injuries at first but once on scene we worked hard to bring the situation under control and provide as much comfort and pain relief as possible.”

On the night of the rescue, the Coastguard Auckland unit responded to the yachtsman ’s distress call who was badly burned after being engulfed in flames on board his vessel. Coastguard Auckland unit vessels, ASB Rescue and Li on Foundation Rescue, were tasked to locate and assist the casualty and then to transfer the yachtsman to the nearest land point where an ambulance and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter were waiting.

Griggs boarded the yacht to find the man sitting in the shower under the running water in an attempt to ease the discomfort from his burns. “The fire had caused significant burns to his arms, h ands and lower body. He had done the right thing by sitting under the cold water but in doing so had started to go hypothermic and was in immense pain,” says Griggs.

Once on board Lion Foundation Rescue, the man was carefully transferred to emergency services waiting onshore.

The judges said the Coastguard volunteers used their skills in a “highly stressful situation” where time was of the essence. By preventing further injury to the victim, the volunteers improved his chances of survival and recovery.

Auckland Coastguard relies on donations and sponsorship to deliver on our mission of "Saving lives at sea." If you can support us in any way, please get in touch with Owen Harrison on 09 303 9366 or