Sumner Lifeboat / Coastguard Sumner- saving lives at sea





4500+ sq km





Dial 111 and ask for Police.

If you are on a vessel in distress, you can broadcast a Mayday call on Maritime VHF channel 16.

The Police or the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre will handle the incident and call all relevant rescue services, including Sumner Lifeboat if necessary.

Volunteer Maritime Search and Rescue

on-call, all volunteers

Sumner Lifeboat crew are all volunteers, on-call to attend incidents on the coast or out at sea, in the daytime or at night.

Crew on lifeboat

A callout could be anything from assisting a sinking yacht, to searching for a missing surfer, to evacuating a sick person by sea from a remote coastal location.

Our fleet of vessels is equipped to handle rescues close to shore in big surf through to night-time missions going miles offshore.

We are a Charity

Sumner Lifeboat is a volunteer organisation

Sumner Lifeboat Institution Crew on lookout is a volunteer organisation and is a registered New Zealand charity. 

We currently have about 30 volunteer crew, from trainees through to professional mariners. In 2018, the volunteers put in a staggering 6,000+ hours of their time.

All backgrounds – builders, lawyers, engineers, IT experts, medics, students, through to commercial skippers – one goal: helping save lives at sea.

Help Support Us

Donate funds, products or services to help

Sumner Lifeboat Institution depends on donations, grants and bequests.

About 90% of our annual income is from donations.

We need funds to operate – to purchase everything from fuel to first aid kits, safety equipment for crew, insurance, and many consumables.

Plus vessel, building, and slipway maintenance make regular calls on our funds.

An easy way to help us is to make a donation via our online donation page.

There are other ways to make financial contributions. We also welcome donations of products or services, and are keen to get helpers for fundraising initiatives.

Learn more about how to support us, or if you’d simply like to contact us, we’d love to hear from you.


Three vessels, a wide area of operations

3 vessels - Blue Arrow Rescue, Urquhart Trust Rescue, Hamilton Jet Rescue
We have three vessels: Urquhart Trust Rescue, Hamilton Jet Rescue, and Blue Arrow Rescue – our all-weather long range lifeboat.

Chart of operational area

We cover over 4,500km2 of coastal waters, from Port Gibson just north of the mouth of the Hurunui River, to south west of Banks Peninsula, near Birdlings Flat. The operational area of the Sumner lifeboats is shown on this chart.

Our crew are trained on all three vessels to cover everything from local rescues off Scarborough beach to assisting boats in distress at night miles offshore.

All Sumner Lifeboat volunteers are trained under the framework of the Coastguard Rescue Vessel Training Programme. They develop their specialist skills through training in our local waters and must regularly do refresher training to keep up-to-date.

nz_coastguard_charitySumner Lifeboat Institution is a founding and active member of Coastguard New Zealand; it is a unit of Coastguard Southern Region, and is one of 63 Coastguard units around New Zealand.