The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) continues working fully staffed 24/7 over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
RCCNZ coordinates search and rescue services nationally for all aviation and off-shore marine incidents within New Zealand’s 30 million square kilometer search and rescue region, and any land-based searches involving distress beacons. This can involve mobilisation of a wide number of New Zealand and international search and rescue resources.
It provides the maritime radio service, including monitoring channel 16, the international VHF channel for maritime emergency distress calls, and monitors all distress beacons.
RCCNZ Manager, Mike Hill, said RCCNZ deals with about 850 incidents a year, with distress beacons involved in about 75 per cent of them.
Trampers, hunters, climbers and people working in isolated areas are increasingly choosing to carry distress beacons. As a result, the percentage of beacons activated in the back country is growing rapidly.
“if you are heading out on the water, on land or in the air always do three things: leave your trip details with a responsible person, check the weather before leaving, make sure you have appropriate emergency communications equipment,” Mr Hill said.
Emergency communication equipment includes distress beacons, VHF radio, a cellphone in a waterproof bag, and flares.