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Volunteer roles

Our volunteers serve in different capacities depending on their skills, interests and other commitments. Most people who volunteer for Coastguard want to make their contribution out on the water, but there are also plenty of shore-based opportunities for volunteers to support their local community.

Check out the different types of roles below.

Our Coastguard Rescue Vessel volunteers are out on the water everyday across Aotearoa saving lives at sea and supporting our boating community. Coastguard provides all online and practical training to fit with your schedule and work commitments to help you become operational.

“We’re like a great big family. And when the chips are down, we all come together because I know that when I'm in the water at any time, my crew won't let me down.” Carolyn Tapley – Coastguard Canterbury.

“I get a lot out of volunteering. A lot of the training we go through is a huge benefit to me and sailing and all the other on water stuff, but also just the fact that I get kind of a real good kick when we do a call out and it comes back successfully and bring people back to land again.” Camilla Gibbons – Coastguard Sumner.

Take a look at our current vacancies

Our two Air Patrol units in Auckland & Kerikeri operate Cessna aircraft to assist with area searches. This is a great way to contribute if you’re happiest in the air and have experience in the aviation sector.

“The most rewarding element is that you know you can make a difference, we are the search in the search and rescue. When we find someone first, it gives everyone a psychological boost that they are there. Our plane can be there after everyone, but spot the person first.” Mark McCarthy – Auckland Coastguard Air Patrol.

Take a look at our current vacancies

Each of Coastguard’s units across New Zealand has its own President – responsible for the overall leadership and management of the unit’s operation. Working closely with board members, office holders, unit volunteers and Coastguard New Zealand, Presidents are a vital cog in ensuring every unit can effectively continue to save lives at sea.

“Hanging around with a good group of people that get on with one another is really important and keeps you coming back every day and yeah it's good fun.” Blair Quane – Coastguard Sumner President.

Take a look at our current vacancies

Coastguard Volunteer Radio Operators are the lifeline of our operations, the connection between our volunteers on the water, boaties and emergency services. 

What you can expect from a typical day: 

  • Taking trip reports from boaties 
  • Issuing weather reports and vital information across VHF radio 
  • Taking incident calls from the public
  • Handling marine emergencies and calls for assistance 
  • Communicating closely with other agencies, such as the Police, St John, Fire and the Harbourmasters.

“Coastguard is about family and the friendships that you make – being able to work together in sync to ensure lives are saved at sea.” Cristian Harper - Communications North.

Take a look at our current vacancies

Each of Coastguard’s units has a Secretary who is responsible for record keeping and the management of correspondence and administrative support to the unit board. Secretaries are an important part of every unit’s ability to keep everyone abreast of what is happening – from unit board members and unit volunteers to Coastguard New Zealand.

Take a look at our current vacancies

Volunteering for Coastguard is a team effort – requiring just as much precision and effort off the water as it does in the midst of a search and rescue mission. Whether you’re an ace administrator, handy with a toolkit, a fantastic fundraiser, a brilliant bookkeeper or an accurate accountant, there’s a role for you at Coastguard.

Take a look at our current vacancies

Each of Coastguard’s units has a Treasurer who is responsible for overall financial management for the Unit and provides the unit’s board with information to enable them to make sound financial decisions. As all of Coastguard units are financially independent of the main national organisation, Treasurers play a vital role in maintaining key relationships with external suppliers, auditors, financial advisors, sponsors, donors as well as Coastguard New Zealand.

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Unit Crew Coordinators assist volunteers to ensure effective operation of everything going on at the base. From manage inquiries from potential new volunteers and inducting new volunteers to managing crew rosters, Unit Crew Coordinators are the beating heart of our units.

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Unit Safety Officers champion all aspects of Health and Safety so that every volunteer returns safe home, every day. Creating a transparent and safe working environment means Unit Safety Officers need strong and proactive relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders. This includes unit volunteers, regional staff, the Unit Crew Coordinator, Safety Officers in other units, surveyors, Coastguard New Zealand and Maritime New Zealand.

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Unit Training Officers manage the provision of training for all unit volunteers to enable them to achieve the appropriate qualifications for their roles within the unit. There is no on-water requirement for this role nor prior necessary experience with boats.

“For the instructor side, it's actually being able to get the crew to be signed off through certain modules. And a lot of our crew, some of them only want to become operational, some want to work their way up to being a skipper. So, there's a lot of bits and pieces that we've got to do.” Ray Flutey – Coastguard Bluff.

Take a look at our current vacancies