VESSEL REVIEW | GJ Gardner Rescue – New coastguard vessel for Whangamata, New Zealand

 Photo: Mike Judd
Photo: Mike Judd
Photo: Mike Judd
Photo: Mike Judd

Whangamata is one of the most beautiful beach towns on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula. The recent opening of a marina just inside the estuary has seen boating activity at this popular spot increase with the arrival of many large motor cruisers.

As part of the marina development, Whangamata Coastguard secured a new base, with a purpose built shed and hard-stand area virtually opposite the marina boat ramp.

As part of the unit's long-term planning a new rescue vessel was the next major project after the new base. Its previous vessel was a Naiad 8.5-metre that had been in service since 2000 and proven itself to be a safe and reliable workhorse.

The committee charged to oversee the new boat project visited a number of other coastguard units to understand latest developments and how these could be applied to their project.

The committee settled on the Naiad 9.5-metre, which is operated by four other coastguard units on the Hauraki Gulf and nearby at Waihi Beach. Some design tweaks were made, the most obvious being the forward-rake windscreen.

The forward raked screens, so popular in Australia because of heat issues, provide extra overhead space albeit at the cost of the more "sporty look" of the aft-raked models.

Whangamata also liked the "skipper's console" popular on many Naiads which is a full navigation and communications console located at the aft port position. This allows the skipper to oversee operations more easily.

Another clever idea adopted was the aft-facing crew seat. Towing is a regular coastguard service and standard procedure is that a crewmember monitors the tow continuously. So the seat allows this to be done more comfortably – most welcome on a long, slow tow! The towpost and structure meet the latest Maritime New Zealand Rule 40C requirements and is rated to a massive 3,500kg SWL – way beyond normal load of 600 to 800kg on the towline.

Twin Yamaha outboards at 187kW power the boat, providing a top speed of over 40 knots and an easy, economical cruise at 30 knots. Like all coastguard boats there is an extensive electronics package installed, this one being a Simrad system.

This boat has the traditional round air pontoons which remain popular with coastguard units in New Zealand. They certainly provide the softest ride and are extremely forgiving coming alongside other vessels.

Seating is the Naiad designed combination sit-stand units, with four dedicated crew positions plus the aft-facing seat for tow operations. Custom-designed storage is provided for salvage pump, fire hoses, towrope, plus medical and safety equipment.

The forward cabin has seating, a full-length bunk, toilet, and crew gear storage. A large hatch provides easy access to the forward well-deck for anchoring, handling lines, and vessel assist activities.

The boat is unpainted and finished in vinyl-wrap to Coastguard New Zealand livery specifications. To reduce glare the crew cabin area is painted low-gloss grey and underfoot is Ultralon EVA foam.

GJ Gardner Rescue
Type of vessel:Rescue boat
In survey to:MNZ Rules 40A and 40C
Home port:Whangamata, New Zealand
Owner:Whangamata Volunteer Coastguard, New Zealand
Operator:Whangamata Volunteer Coastguard, New Zealand
Designer:Naiad Design, New Zealand
CAD software:Autocad Inventor
Builder:Alloy Cats, New Zealand
Construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:9.5 metres
Length waterline:8.0 metres
Beam:3.1 metres
Main engine/s:2 x Yamaha outboards, each 186kW
Maximum speed:44 knots
Cruising speed:30 knots
Bollard pull:3.5 tonnes
Electronics supplied by:Bay Marine Electronics
Depth sounder:Airmar
Capstan:Maxwell AnchorMax
Seating:Naiad sit/stand
Safety flooring:Ultralon
Fuel capacity:650L
Fuel consumption:60L/hour at 26 knots
Range:200 miles
Operational area:Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

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