Before you apply | Coastguard Volunteer Recruitment Skip to main content

What to know before applying

Volunteering is rewarding, and it takes commitment. If you’re thinking about signing up, or have any questions, take a look at the info on this page before you apply.

Something we haven't answered below? Get in touch with our Recruitment Team and they'll help you out.

Age requirements 

Applicants for Coastguard Rescue Vessel Crew must be at least 18 years old for search and rescue operations. If applicant is 16 or 17 years old, an exception may be requested with caregiver’s written support.

Applicants for Radio Operations or other Shore Based roles may be considered at age 16 or 17 with caregiver’s written support.

Police vetting 

Being a volunteer requires trust and integrity and is a position that comes with responsibility. So, all applicants must undertake Police vetting. This identifies any convictions the Police hold about a person. We do not accept people who have convictions for arson or sexual offences. For other crimes, it depends on the conviction and when it occurred. For more information see the Police website.

If you have any questions about Police vetting to become a volunteer, please email our Recruitment team

Medical checks

People wishing to volunteer are required to self-assess their medical capacity. Anyone in doubt can reach out to our Recruitment team email.

Contributing your time 

  • Coastguard Rescue Vessel Crew (CRV) or Air Crew need to be able to respond to call-outs, at any time, and often with little or no notice.
  • CRV crew attend a regular weekly training night.
  • Radio Operators need to be able to commit to a roster.
  • Some support role volunteers may also be required to attend the unit training night and other meetings.

Living or working near the unit 

In most cases but not all, Coastguard Rescue Vessel Crew need to live or work near the unit so that they can get to the unit quickly when called out. 

Working and being a volunteer 

Our volunteers who are Coastguard Rescue Vessel Crew will need to manage their work responsibilities alongside their responsibilities as a volunteer. We encourage all our volunteers to work with their employers to reach a mutual agreement about responding to call-outs during work hours. Communication Centres operate 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Our Radio Operator roles work on shifts, which vary depending on location.

What's in it for me? – He aha tāku i whiwhi ai?

Being a Coastguard volunteer is a challenge, but one that comes with a lot of great rewards:

  • The excitement and challenge of life on the water, on shore or in the air
  • First class training
  • Leadership and teamwork skills
  • Risk assessment experience
  • Personal development
  • Clear pathways for progression
  • New friendships with like-minded people


"The team at Coastguard Hibiscus are family.

Being part of Coastguard gives us the opportunity to make an incredible difference in other people’s lives. Whether it’s the people we are tasked to assist, meeting and helping people in the wider community, sharing our knowledge to support and train our fellow crew members, or the difference the training makes to our families and how we react to situations in our own lives.”

Rachel Hessey – Coastguard Hibiscus Coast Unit

Coastguard Volunteers are also eligible for a range of special discounts and benefits:

  • Discounted Tower Insurance - Home, contents, car and boat
  • Discounts off outdoor and boating equipment from Marine Deals
  • Discounts off retail, hospitality and more with Boost
  • Discounted Medical Cover with Southern Cross Health Insurance
  • Discounted Travel Insurance with Explorer Safe
  • Personal Accident Insurance with Mercer Marsh
  • Volunteer counselling and support services with Vitae
  • Discounted mobile plans with 2 Degrees' Kiwi Hero Plans
  • Free Coastguard Membership for free on-water assistance

Tempted? Check out the available volunteer roles near you!

What to expect with our recruitment process?

Once you’ve applied for one of our volunteering vacancies your application will be forwarded to the Unit. The role you have applied for will determine the number of steps required to becoming a volunteer following our Code of Conduct and Values.

Step 1: Background and medical checks 

All volunteers must pass police vetting. Your application confirmation email will include a link to complete the police vetting form and parental consent (if this is relevant). Completing and returning this as soon as is practicable will assist your application process. 

If you have any concerns about your medical capacity, reach out to our Recruitment team.

Step 2: Phone Interview 

You be contacted by the Unit Crew Coordinator. They will have several questions they want to ask you about your application. This will be a time for you to ask any questions you have about the role. You may be invited to the Unit to meet the team. 

If you both agree you’re a good candidate for the volunteering role you have applied for, the Crew Coordinator will outline the assessment process from here. 

Step 3: Assessments 

Assessments take place over a 2–6-week period. They may be any of the following: observation, testing, live experiences, and interview. You will be assessed for skills and fit. 

Throughout the assessment process there will be times to assess and agree if you’re a good candidate for volunteering.  

If you have applied for a Coastguard Rescue Vehicle role you will receive a separate email with login details to access the Learning Management system. The Learning Management system includes information and captures the outcome of assessments completed during the recruitment phase.  

Step 4: Decision 

The Unit will consider all applications, the outcome of assessment and will contact you about whether your application has been successful or not, and the reasons why. 

Step 5: Welcome to the team 

If your application is successful, you may become part of the Coastguard Unit. Once accepted, we’ll issue you with a uniform and you’ll start attending regular training nights. 

Depending on the role, wearing a uniform or attending training may be optional for Unit support volunteers. 

Step 6: Training 

Depending on the role, you’ll start a formal training programme. This may include formal training courses which are available through our online learning platform and at the unit. 

It will be important for you to complete the training successfully to progress within Coastguard.