Coastguard gifted 26 new boats worth millions of dollars thanks to special partnership

The Coastguard is being gifted 26 new boats worth millions of dollars, thanks to a partnership with Lotto and Emirates Team New Zealand.

The deal means many Coastguard locations struggling to fundraise will get desperately needed new kit.

Guarding the Gulf and helping Aucklanders stay safe on the water this summer. Brent 'Skinny' Henderson's been saving lives with Aotea/Great Barrier's Coastguard for six years.

"It's the charity saving lives at sea, yep, that's our job," he says.

But his boat's 19 years old and needs almost constant repairs.

"It's just ongoing, it just doesn't stop when a boat gets old," he says.

It's costing tens of thousands a year just to keep it running, including a complete electronics overhaul.

This hatch broke recently and Skinny can't find a new one that fits. Jib and tape aren't ideal for rescues in 50-knot winds.

"Probably most people wouldn't go out in 20 knots recreationally so you're out in about two-and-a-half-times what anyone normally recreationally would go out in," Henderson says.

A new boat's $700,000-$800,000. That's a lot of sausage sizzles for an island with 900-odd residents.

"Our size with our ability to get funding, we wouldn't have a chance," Henderson says.

But then along came Santa in the form of his boss at the Coastguard Christmas party.

"In the package is a little picture saying 'Merry Christmas, enjoy your new boat'," Henderson says.

He's getting an America's Cup chase boat thanks to a partnership between the Coastguard, Lotto, and Emirates Team New Zealand.

Lotto paid for them to be built here in Aotearoa. Then after the Cup's over, 26 are off to the Coastguard.

"Everybody is pretty happy about that! Probably a bit choked up really," Henderson says.

Skinny's replacement will be ready to go next summer. After the America's Cup is finished, the Coastguard still needs to re-fit the boats, so Aotea/Great Barrier's will arrive around July. The old boat will be sold to pay for the refit.

A desperately needed lifeline from Lotto ensuring our remote coastguard spots stay afloat.