Two boaties saved after distress beacon activated

11 June 2019

The Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) received alerts from an EPIRB (distress beacon designed for use on vessels) at 1.30 pm today about 50 nautical miles (92 kilometres) East North East of Whangarei Heads.

RCCNZ tasked the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust Helicopter, and the Police launch Deodar III also responded.

The rescue helicopter found the launch, which had left Bay of Islands earlier in the day. Its engine had failed and the two people on board had activated the vessel’s EPIRB. Deodar III was quickly on scene and was able to assist the people and tow their launch to shore.

As well as the EPIRB they had VHF radio and mobile phones, which can be useful in coastal waters though in this case they were in deep water and out of range.

RCCNZ Search Mission Coordinator Chris Wilson said, “Maritime NZ advises all boaties to take at least two water proof ways to all for help, and this rescue highlights why. No one communication tool is perfect for any particular situation and having at least one other option can be a life saver.”

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