SAILOR’S TATS: Teremaapakura Ngarupo, 6, is given a henna tattoo by Stefan Stoove, 16, during the open day. Photos John Morin D7692-04

COASTGUARD Whakatane held its first open day in years on Sunday and the boating community responded by joining and promising to volunteer their time.

Coastguard Whakatane president Jim Williams says the event had the perfect storm of great weather and community-minded water enthusiasts happy to support and, in some cases, lend a hand to the group.

“It’s a community-spirited event about safety at sea, and to involve people with the coastguard,” Mr Williams says.

“It was the first one we’ve had for a while and I think it went really well. The weather was perfect, and people loved the boat rides. We had a few people sign up to volunteer and for memberships.”

He says boaties have become increasingly aware of the new boating safety standards, and the statistics are showing it works.

“As far as safety at sea, we haven’t had as many emergency situations for a fair while,” he says. “We haven’t had a death in a number of years now.”

He says there are minor emergencies that can lead to dangerous situations but overall, threats to life and limb are lessening.

“We still get breakdowns and that but that’s the way it’s always going to be when you work with electronics in salt water,” he says.