Managing director of Aimex Ltd, Steve Sullivan, CEO of Coastguard New Zealand, Callum Gillespie, and CEO of Sealord, Doug Paulin, celebrate the building of Coastguard Nelson’s new vessel. Photo: Tim Cuff.

Nelson’s new Coastguard rescue vessel takes shape


Work is well underway on Coastguard Nelson’s $1.4m purpose-built rescue vessel, which is now almost 90 per cent complete.

It is currently undergoing installation of electrics, navigation electronics and other systems, and is about to receive its colourful new livery.

The engines and jet units are installed, with the vessel on track to be finished and ready for its sea trials in early January.

Coastguard’s CEO Callum Gillespie was recently in Nelson to check out the progress, along with Sealord CEO Doug Paulin – and to meet with the volunteers who give countless hours to ensure the success of the project.

Callum says the new vessel is a game changer for Coastguard Nelson and the community it serves.

“Not only is it a capable machine that ensures the volunteers have the right tools and equipment to complete their lifesaving work, but it also supports exceptional health and safety standards for our crew during search and rescue operations, as well as those they bring on board.”

As the naming rights sponsor, contributing $215k to the cause, Sealord helped kick-start the boat build earlier in the year.

Sealord CEO Doug Paulin said his company realised the challenge the charity was facing, with Covid-19 heavily impacting the unit’s ability to raise funds.

Sealord has been charged with naming the vessel and has sought input from Te Tau Ihu iwi, with the name to be unveiled when the boat is formally launched in March next year.

Coastguard Nelson President Pete Kara says the vessel is being built to serve “the community who have contributed so much”.

Pete says the Coastguard team is looking forward to what is shaping up to be the busiest summer on the water yet with Kiwi’s spending time in their own backyard due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Servicing your engine, checking batteries are holding charge and replacing old fuel can go a long way to helping people enjoy their time out on the water. Taking and wearing life jackets goes without saying, they’ve never ruined a day out on the water.”