Sumner Lifeboat Institution – saving lives at sea





4500+ sq km




Volunteer Maritime Search and Rescue

on-call 24/7, 365 days a year

Sumner Lifeboat crew are on-call 24/7, 365 days a year to attend incidents on the coast or out at sea.

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

From Incident to Action

On the water within minutes

Within 10 minutes of being tasked, a Sumner Lifeboat vessel can be on the water on a mission to save lives.

Our volunteers have pagers and the lifeboat station has a siren that is activated for emergency callouts. Most crew live and work locally and will respond immediately if in range.

Sumner Lifeboat is tasked either by the Police or by the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) operated by Maritime New Zealand.

We are a Charity

Sumner Lifeboat Institution is a volunteer organisation

Sumner Lifeboat Jetski

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

We currently have over 35 volunteer crew, from trainees through to professional mariners. In 2018, the volunteers put in a staggering 6,700 hours of their time.

They are dedicated. They receive no pay, can be called out in the middle of the night or when at a family function, yet do so because of a common goal.

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

Our existence depends on donations, grants and bequests.

One way to help us is to make a donation. Please contact us for ways of supporting us – financially or otherwise.


Three vessels, a wide area of operations

3 lifeboats

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

Sumner Lifeboat Rescue Limits
We cover over 4,500km2 of coastal waters, from Port Gibson just north of the mouth of the Hurunui River, to southwest of Banks Peninsula, near Birdlings Flat.

Southern Trust Rescue

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.

Hamilton Jet Rescue in surf

Dealing with rescues in big surf is one of our specialties.

All our volunteers are trained under  the Coastguard crew training programme, from inductee to senior roles.

Sumner Lifeboat Institution is part of Coastguard New Zealand’s Southern Region.