Presidentís annual report to the Howick Volunteer Coastguard 22nd AGM, dated 6th September 2005.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Members and Guests,

Welcome to the 22nd AGM of the Howick Volunteer Coastguard. We have just completed our 49th year of operation which has presented us with many challenges, which I will briefly highlight.

Firstly, a warm welcome to everyone, our members, guests, fellow coastguarders and supporters, I welcome you all.

Over the last year, as in previous years our achievements have been considerable, a firm tribute to our fantastic team of committed volunteers. Our annual statistics are always interesting, and I highlight a few as follows:

I would also like to extend my thanks to all our loyal supporters, the Manukau City Council without whom we would certainly struggle to run our organisation, the ASB Charitable Trust, the Lotteries Grants Board, the community at large, who enable us to purchase the best gear available, Coastguard Federation, the Coastguard Northern Region, fellow Coastguard organisations, and all those individuals, groups and organisations who help to make our existence possible.

Every organisation has to look for ways to improve and grow and Howick is one of those units to whom change is no stranger. This year change has sought us out with more than our fair share of challenges. In the crew area we have seen a number of our long serving senior crew members stand down. This has meant a huge loss of knowledge and the need for some of the newer members to come forward and take up the challenge. During the year we have had to regroup in to four crews whilst we rebuilt the experience in the crews and we are about to reform into five crews ready for the summer.

Notably our most trying challenge has been the fire damage to our number one craft HR1. This has been a particularly frustrating and challenging time for all the members particularly as the cause was a direct result of poor workmanship by the boat builders. But we are a stronger unit for this and we will have a DRV that is better in a number of ways. Firstly the rebuilding has given us the chance to fit improvements to the craft and we now have a much superior craft than we had before which I know is hard to believe. We are expecting the boat to be back in active duty this weekend and I know there are 40 excited members who canít wait to get our baby back. Secondly the lessonís learnt have been invaluable, not only to our unit but to Coastguard as a whole. There has been much useful discussion about life jackets and the practical training surrounding the use of them as well as fire protection systems on boats.

But Howick is not a unit to sit around or be knocked back by any event. The Howick unit as a whole picked themselves up and got rolling with the generous assistance of Adam Wickes from Rayglass with the loan of his personal 8.5m Rayglass Protector to continue our work. A very big Thank you Adam it has certainly made the last 4 Ĺ months easier being able to stay active and out on the water. We really like your boat but we canít wait to get back into our nice warm cabin!

Whilst all this has been going on a boat committee has been reviewing the options for the replacement of HR2. With a desire to be more effective in the area of our local beaches and Tamaki River a new boat will give us a much better platform than our current #2 craft for inshore and river work. There is a particular need for those smaller weekday jobs when the current HR2 is to small and HR1 is not really needed. Watch this space as we work this project over the next few months.

Finally, to all our members. You have helped create one of the most impressive CG units in the country. It is constantly confirmed that we are regarded by many Units as the ĎYard-Stickí of Coastguard Units, and that is not because of any one person or group of people, it is because of the input of you all. A finer group of volunteers you would not find anywhere. I am proud to be your President, and proud of this Organisation. I ask that you be proud of your achievements also, as you have all earned that right.

Again I thank you all for your attendance and support.

Colin Small