The Taranaki On-Call Rescue Squad were awarded Innovation of the Year at the annual Taranaki Surf Lifesaving Awards earlier this month for the introduction of their custom rescue jet ski, which has been operating in Taranaki waters since January.
The jet ski, which has already played a critical role in supporting multiple water rescues this season, has been a hugely beneficial addition for the Squad.
“Within its first week, the jet ski completed two rescues out off Back Beach,” says the On-Call Squad’s manager, David Bentley.
“In addition to the rescues this season, we’ve had numerous training outings with the Police, Todd Energy Rescue Coast Guard, and the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter, and we now have two qualified operators in Taranaki who have completed over 20 hours of training, as well as another 4 probationary operators who will sit their final exam in November.”
“We’ve also been able to use the ski for water safety at major events, including the central regional championships held at Oakura last season, and for patrol support on busy summer days when it’s available”
The jet ski has been a game-changer for surf lifesaving not just in the Taranaki region but in the country too, says Bentley.
“This is the first time New Zealand has seen a ski established and used as part of a regional Search and Rescue Squad, and its speed to get to victims has been praised by the Police and Search and Rescue alike.”
The On-Call Rescue Squad were grateful for Todd Energy’s sponsorship, which made the purchase of the jet ski possible.
“As a volunteer organisation we rely heavily on the Taranaki community, and we’re thankful to Todd Energy for their generous support in seeing the ski introduced to our region.”