Over 150 hours of training as a Coastguard volunteer have paid off for Queenstown man Mark Galbraith who was presented with his ‘Coastguard Certificate of Competency (COC) – Operational Crew’ by Carl Portegys, President of Coastguard Queenstown, during their training night last night. Mark has completed 21 courses and training modules along with over 20 hours operational on water time since he joined Coastguard in February 2010. Mark says his goal is to achieve his COC – Master which will require him to complete another 14 training courses and log a minimum of 75 hours operational on water time.
“I wanted to get involved in something as a volunteer” he says, “and as I’m a keen boatie Coastguard is somewhere I can learn and get involved in the community”. Born in Dundee Scotland, Mark came to New Zealand 20 years ago living in Riverton and Auckland before settling with his family in Queenstown. Running his own business, Arrowtown Plumbing, Mark has no difficulty with the demands of Coastguard emergency work. “I’ve also got an employee who is a Coastguard volunteer. I’ve told him that in an emergency we’ve just got to go”.
Mark and other Coastguard volunteers are trained in marine search and rescue which includes theory and practical training modules on: emergency and rescue equipment carried on the rescue vessel; local area familiarisation with maritime rules and the water way in which they operate; observation techniques which covers how to effectively search across water; how to recover a person in the water or on a boat or other structure; how to operate a marine VHF radio. They must also hold a current First Aid certificate. In all there are 21 modules and courses to be completed and the 20 hours actual on water time to achieve COC Operational Certificate.
New People interested in becoming a Coastguard Volunteer should contact Coastguard Queenstown on 021872344