Become a volunteer - there's a role for you

All around New Zealand, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, Coastguard volunteers are there for our communities, as part of the charity Saving Lives at Sea.

 Why become a volunteer?

Coastguard is almost entirely staffed by volunteers from diverse backgrounds. Over 2,200 people nationally volunteer over 302,000 hours of their time for Coastguard, helping to pull over 6,600 people to safety each year. Every unit remains on standby 24/7, 365 days a year, so the commitment is a big one.

By becoming a volunteer, you can be part of a close-knit team dedicated to saving lives at sea. Your personal contribution may one day save the life of a boatie in need.

We need help from you, whether you have 4 or 40 hours a month to spare. You don't even need to be a boatie! Your skills can help free up time for on-water crew to respond to incidents. 

How can I help Coastguard?

Most people who volunteer for Coastguard want to make their contribution out on the water. But plenty of opportunities exist to contribute on land, too - you don't need to be a boatie to help! 

Wet Crew – these volunteers are the ones out on the water, making sure New Zealand's boaties stay safe.

Communications Team – they’re the main point of contact for boaties as well as our rescue crews. They receive and coordinate emergency incidents, as well as provide informational services such as weather broadcasts, from the Operations Room in Mechanics Bay

Air Patrol – our two Air Patrol units (in Auckland & Kerikeri) operate Cessna aircraft to assist with area searches. Periodically, vacancies for Air Flight Observer, Air Flight Coordinator and even Pilot come up. This is a great way to contribute if you’re happiest in the air.

Fundraising, selling lottery tickets, admin – you don’t have to be a boatie to get involved, and we always need ‘can do’ people supporting us in the background. If you have anywhere between four and forty hours a month to spare, and skills in administration, financial keeping or fundraising, please apply today!

What's in it for me?

  • An exciting and challenging role
  • First class Maritime qualifications & training
  • Management & teamwork skills
  • Risk assessment experience
  • Personal development
  • Clear pathways for progression
  • New friendships with like-minded people

All we need from you is your time, commitment and enthusiasm.


What's involved?


Anyone is welcome to apply to become a Coastguard volunteer, however we do have some prerequisites to consider before you do. For Wet Crew:

  • You must be fit and healthy
  • You must be over the age of 16
  • You must be comfortable working with others, and be able to take direction
  • You’ll be able to commit to rostered shifts
  • You’ll be required to sit and pass theory and practical training throughout your time with Coastguard


Before you even get on the water, there’s a lot of training to be done first. In return for your time, you’ll be given world-class training at every step of your Coastguard journey.

Every Coastguard volunteer must be able to complete a series of trainee modules before becoming operational. Typically, it takes trainees 12-18 months to become operational, although many have done it quicker.

On the job

Being a volunteer of Coastguard is a major commitment, and one you might even risk your life for. You will need to be able to commit to training and duty rosters, and live within a certain radius of your chosen Unit.

Apply today

Thanks for taking the first step!

If you're ready to apply, you’ll need to complete three forms:

You'll also need to attach a clear copy of your drivers licence and the photo page of your passport (make sure it's signed) to your application. If you don't hold these, contact us to discuss alternatives.

Send these items to:

SAR Training Coordinator
PO Box 2195
Shortland Street
Auckland 1140

Or scan and email to:


Thank you for your application.

We’ll process this and will be in touch to discuss your application within 10 working days.

If you have any enquiries, please call our SAR Coordinator Helen on (09) 303 9346.