Helping Save Lives This Summer

Coastguard New Zealand’s Old4New lifejacket upgrade programme ran for its third season across the recent summer months and was a huge success.

In association with the Giltrap Group and Hutchwilco, Coastguard New Zealand’s highly successful Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign returned during the busy summer months this year.

Visiting communities throughout the country in order to help ensure boaties everywhere had the opportunity to be fit-for-purpose out on the water.

Forming a key part of Coastguard’s advocacy for safe and enjoyable boating, the concept behind the Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade is a straightforward one: boaties everywhere are encouraged to bring in their old, damaged or out-of-date lifejacket to the big red, white and blue Old4New van and receive a discount on a brand-new, high quality Hutchwilco lifejacket.  

The Coastguard team and the Volkswagen van were visiting popular boat ramps and key locations from the far north to the deep south across summer. The campaign has been running for three years now, with the Coastguard team fully mobile in their Old4New van, supplied by the Giltrap Group. 

In all, over 10,000 lifejackets have been traded in over the last four years of the campaign meaning thousands of Kiwis are now safer out on the water.   

“Lifejackets save lives, it’s as simple as that,” says Georgie Smith, Marketing Manager for Coastguard's Northern Region.  

“Two-thirds of recreational boating fatalities would likely be prevented if lifejackets were worn. A lifejacket has never ruined a day on the water. 

“The Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign provides an easy and accessible way for people to ensure they have the correct number of fit for purpose lifejackets to wear when out on the water.” 

Drilling down further, it’s impressive to see just how on-demand the Coastguard’s services are up and down the country, all year ‘round.  

Every year this vital charity – operating from a network of 63 affiliated units and 2000 volunteers who provide over 300,000 hours of their time each year – undertake a huge amount of rescue work. 

Coastguard’s chief goals are to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. In just the Northern Region alone, the stats associated with Coastguard’s volunteer service performance make you realise just how consistently needed the organisation is. 

During 2017, the Coastguard Northern Region responded to 1930 calls for help, assisted in getting 4139 boaties home safely, monitored 12,064 bar crossing reports and held six special bar crossing safety events for over 220 people. 

Over 103,600 boat trips were logged with Coastguard Radio and the Coastguard safety app was accessed 500,000 times. And while the number isn’t as lofty as some of those other stats, the fact that 16 people rescued during 2017 are alive and well today through the quick actions of Coastguard volunteer personnel is perhaps the most important statistic of all. 

“While the focus is very much out on the water, safe boating education and fundraising to keep the operation going remain large parts of what we do back on land,” says Georgie. 

“That advocacy includes initiatives like the Old4New lifejacket upgrade programme. As Kiwis, we have an affinity with the water – it’s in our blood. 

“The Giltrap Group have proudly supported Coastguard’s Northern Region for over three years now. Many of our customers use their vehicles to tow their boats and head out to catch the big one, with the Volkswagen Amarok favoured by the Coastguard team for the ease of which it can dependably tow our relief Rescue Vessel where it’s needed.” 

Keep an eye out for the Old4New lifejacket upgrade programme roadshow in your region next summer. For more info on how to support Coastguard and its volunteers in their lifesaving work, or to become a member, visit 

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