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Warren Dooney from Coastguard Auckland Air Patrol has received the Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year Award at the National Coastguard Awards Dinner, held in Nelson on Saturday.
Warren received one of six annual national awards given to individuals and Coastguard units whose contributions to the organisation were recognised, as the New Zealand Coastguard community came together to honour the year’s achievements.
Warren received the Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year Award for performing well above expectations. In a difficult year where the Unit has only been able to fly in emergencies, Warren took advantage of the spare hours to make training and volunteer recruitment a priority for the Unit.
Warren used his own initiative to develop a training manual for the new aircraft equipment which has been instrumental in bringing crew up to speed as well as encouraging most of the Unit to upskill by completing the training matrix. He has also played a key role in recruiting and training new volunteers while still picking up extra shifts on top of his regular duty shifts.
Steven Couch, Acting Chairman for Coastguard Auckland Air Patrol, says Warren has shown himself to be a worthy recipient of this award.
“Every Unit should have a training officer of this calibre. His willingness to put in the time to make a difference to the Units’ performance is second to none.”
Coastguard New Zealand President, Colin Small says, “Coastguard is able to continue the work it does to save lives at sea thanks to the dedication of volunteers like Warren and we are pleased to be able to honour those outstanding individuals who make it all possible with these awards.”
Coastguard is New Zealand’s primary provider of marine search and rescue services. It is made up of highly-trained volunteers who put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis to ensure the safety of people at sea. This year 2,224 brave volunteers brought 6,996 Kiwis safely back to land and devoted a significant 348,346 hours to keeping New Zealander’s safe on the water.
“This year’s award winners have all shown outstanding service to Coastguard and their local boating communities, and our sincere thanks go out to those volunteers for their commitment to saving lives at sea,” says Small.
There are six categories for the awards –
TracPlus Volunteer of the Year Doug Griffin Coastguard West Coast
Rescue of the Year Coastguard Waiheke Island
Operational Volunteer of the Year Stephen Clews Coastguard Whakatane
Chevron Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year Warren Dooney Coastguard Auckland Air Patrol
Chevron Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year Nelson Colyer Coastguard Canterbury
Special Commendation – Earthquake Recovery Coastguard Canterbury Sumner Lifeboat
Waimakariri Ashley Canterbury Air Patrol
The individual award recipients will receive a prize that assists in furthering their education, and professional development, within Coastguard.
Coastguard Waiheke Island – Rescue of the Year - In January this year, Coastguard Waiheke Island was called out to a vessel which had struck some rocks at Motorua Island in the Coromandel. The crew had already been out on the water for four hours attending other calls but raced out to assist the stricken boat which wasn’t coping well in the rough seas. The crew managed to convince the men to stay onboard despite their intention to jump into a small inflatable which could have proved fatal. Waiheke Rescue then managed to get in close enough to get both men on board safely despite the waves pounding the foundering vessel during the rescue.
Warren Dooney – Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year – Warren Dooney received the Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year for performing well above expectations. Warren has made training and volunteer recruitment a priority for the Unit this year which has been extremely successful and all of his dedication and groundwork will hold the Unit in good stead.
Stephen Clews, Operational Volunteer of the Year – Stephen Clews from Coastguard Whakatane was recognised for his work with the Unit’s technical projects. He played a key role in the radio communications upgrade and new vessel research and development. Stephen is also a Senior Master actively involved in marine search and rescue. At a Regional level, his input into the Centralised Radio Communications Hub proof of concept has been greatly appreciated.
Nelson Colyer, Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year – Nelson played a pivotal role in the successful rescue of the tug 'Rakanui' in April this year. He selflessly took control of the foundering vessel which was at risk of sinking, taking ownership of the salvage pump from the exhausted crew member and helping to bring the water levels to a manageable level. Both men and the vessel were brought back to shore safely thanks to Nelson overseeing the long arduous journey.
Doug Griffin, Volunteer of the Year – Doug’s strong social and community spirit has been clear during his 14 year tenure at Coastguard. His passion and organizational skills have lead to him the Unit’s only Skipper while also acting as the Training Officer. As the only member of the unit holding a Certificate of Competency qualification, Doug turns out for every rescue, on water training activity and SAREX.