If in doubt, always report an incident – delaying may mean a life is lost.

All call outs are treated as if someone’s life is in danger. Please call 111 even if you’re not sure. You may be the only person to see someone in trouble.

This page summarises recent call-outs and rescues. We are usually busy in the summer and quiet in the winter months.

2 March 2021

10:50pm – called out to assist with a search for a missing paddleboarder believed to have been in the Cass Bay area.

With night well set in the situation was serious.
Coastguard Canterbury and Lyttelton Port Company’s lifeboat LPC Rescue were first on scene.

Sumner’s Blue Arrow Rescue was launched to provide additional search capability, starting by searching the east side of Quail Island.
Whilst LPC Rescue searched the northern inner harbour shoreline Coastguard Canterbury proceeded to the west side of Quail Island.

Great result: Coastguard Canterbury located the missing person, who was cold but otherwise unharmed. The paddleboarder was taken to Lyttelton for a check up and all units were stood down.

Blue Arrow Rescue returned to base at 12:06am. In total, 15 Sumner crew responded.

Well done to both of the Coastguard units and to LPC Rescue for a good night’s work.

10 January 2021

9:20am – Called out by Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) – a vessel had activated its emergency beacon (EPIRB), triggering an emergency distress signal.

The signal was from a small motor boat with three persons on board, taking on water and at risk of sinking. They were anchored off Whitewash Head.

Callout 2021-01-1011 crew responded and Urquhart Trust Rescue – our jet ski – was launched first, followed by Blue Arrow Rescue.

Another small boat was nearby. The crew of the sinking boat were transferred to the jet ski and the other boat, then onto Blue Arrow Rescue. The boat’s crew were safely returned to shore, then Blue Arrow Rescue went back to the waterlogged boat and towed it back to the station.

The boaties took the right course of action: in imminent danger of sinking they activated their EPIRB, and they also called the Police on 111. Also very important – they had lifejackets on.

A great outcome to a sticky situation.

7 December 2020

16:11 – Called out by Police to assist a kiteboarder who was washed around the front of Whitewash Head. Nine crew responded and Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched. A search of the area was conducted, but the person had managed to get ashore without requiring our assistance.

Whilst we were out we were tasked to check on a couple of windsurfers who were becalmed in the middle of Scarborough – they were OK so the vessel returned to station.

3 December 2020

Lifeboat track11:33am – Called out by Police for a report of a kayaker in difficulty about 1km east of Godley Head.

Six crew responded and Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched to investigate. After a thorough search and a consultation with the Police, it was determined that the reported object is a water buoy, used to monitor maritime conditions off Godley Head.

If in doubt, call us out, but it’s also useful to develop knowledge of the objects that may be in our local marine environment.

2 December 2020

19:10 – Called out by Police to investigate – a person in dinghy off Whitewash Head was heard calling for help.

Hamilton Jet Rescue was quickly launched and located the dinghy and person. There was an issue with the outboard motor and the dinghy had no power. The vessel and its owner were soon recovered back to the ramp at Sumner.

Dinghy recoveredThere’s a few lessons from this incident. Alway carry at least two means of communication that can be used for emergency, regularly check the condition of your motor, fuel etc., and always wear a lifejacket. The person on the dinghy had a lifejacket onboard but was not wearing it.

As with our previous callout, many thanks to vigilant people nearby for realising there was someone in distress, calling 111 and asking for the Police.

FYI, there is an emergency button on the side of the Lifeboat building which immediately activates our siren and pagers – use this if you are near our Station and see an incident that needs us.

27 November 2020

11:12am – Called out by Police, locals reported several surfers being blown offshore, caught by a sudden southerly wind change.

One person managed to ride a wave in, and two more got themselves onto rocks at the foot of Scarborough and walked back.

Hamilton Jet Rescue launchingSurf rescue boat Hamilton Jet Rescue and jet ski Urquhart Trust Rescue were launched to make sure everyone was accounted for. The jet ski was launched a second time to assist a stand up paddle boarder who was being blown out to sea.

The police officers who attended asked us to pass on their thanks to the local community for their help in raising the alarm, keeping a watch out for those who might need a hand, and sharing information to help us check that everyone was safe. They were really impressed at the response from all involved.

Well done Sumner!

19 November 2020

21:51 – Called out by Police to investigate multiple reports of two flares seen off Waimairi Beach.

Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and an extensive search was conducted over two hours. Nothing was found and our jet boat returned to the Station at 12:05am. After washing down and refuelling Hamilton Jet Rescue, the Station was closed at 12:30am and crew headed home to get some sleep  after a busy evening.

31 October 2020

19:11 – Called by Police to assist person caught out by tide on rocks beneath Whitewash Head.

Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and the person was quickly found. With a nasty swell onto the rocks the rescue of the person required some caution to ensure both casualty and crew were safe. Once onboard, the casualty was rapidly returned to base where he was checked by St Johns ambulance.



The casualty did the right thing when he realised he was cut off – he dialled 111 for Police who then tasked Sumner Lifeboat to respond as the nearest Coastguard to unit to the incident.

The 12 crew who responded were stood down at 19:53 and the casualty was given the all clear by the St Johns medic. A good outcome for all.

20 October 2020

07:00 – Continued supporting the Police in their local operation from the previous day.

19 October 2020

16:50 – Called by Police to assist with a shoreline search. Hamilton Jet Rescue and Urquhart Trust Rescue were launched and assisted the Police in their operation. 

The lifeboat station was closed at 20:45.

25 September 2020

20:57 – Called by the Police who had a report of three persons in trouble in the water off Shag Rock. 14 crew responded, both vessels were launched and searched the estuary. The Westpac Trust Rescue Helicopter was also tasked and conducted an aerial search, liaising with our vessels.

Sumner Lifeboat was stood down at 22:25 after extensive search of the estuary and area near Shag Rock, nothing found.  The lifeboat station was closed at 23:30.

A great rapid response and teamwork in a night time situation.

12 September 2020

15:45 – Request from Coastguard to assist a 6m powerboat in Diamond Harbour that had engine difficulties and needed a tow. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched, and quickly rendered the tow to Naval Point and returned to base.

29 August 2020

14:30 – A small boat with 5 persons on board was in difficulties near the reef off Naval Point in Lyttelton Harbour.

Crew responded and prepared Hamilton Jet Rescue for launch, but a nearby boat rendered assistance on scene and we were stood down. Well done to the local boaties.

29 August 2020

11:16 – Called out by a waka/outrigger canoeist whose companion canoeist was overdue from his return trip between New Brighton Pier and  Sumner.

Conditions were getting tricky for them with increasing winds and waves.

Sumner crew responded and prepared Hamilton Jet Rescue for launch. They were then stood down as the missing person was located onshore, having beached for safety.

21 August 2020

14:06 – Called out by the Police. A 7m boat had lost power near Port Levy and needed assistance to get back to Lyttelton.

Hamilton Jet Rescue was prepared for launch, but a nearby vessel was able to help and the Sumner Lifeboat unit was stood down.

1 August 2020

14:00 – Called out by a 6m leisure boat requesting a Coastguard tow

The boat had lost power near Quail Island and needed a tow back to Lyttelton.

Blue Arrow Rescue attended, but the boat eventually got its auxiliary engine going and was able return under its own power.

7 June 2020

13:28 – Called out by a member of the public. A small RIB was spotted off Boulder Bay with three males attempting to paddle to shore as their outboard engine had stopped. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and went to the boat which by this time was being ‘towed’ by one of the men by swimming in front with a rope attached to the RIB.

None of the men wore life jackets and their short trip to Boulder Bay had come unstuck when they ran out of fuel!

Hamilton Jet Rescue stayed on scene until the RIB and men were safely on Taylors Mistake beach, then returned to station. Station was shut down at 14:10.

Please: wear life jackets, and check your outboard motor and fuel before you head out on the water. Here’s a Stuff article and video about the event.

22 May 2020

23.20 – Called out by the Police, due to a public sighting of red flare off South Brighton. Blue Arrow Rescue was prepped and crew assembled at station to launch when Police confirmed that it was people on the beach letting off fireworks and a flare. The crew were stood down around midnight.

A timely reminder that red flares are not toys and are not for entertainment – our crew members prefer to be sleeping at this time of night.

21 May 2020

18:11 – Called out by Police as a kite boarder was reported missing off South Shore. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and Blue Arrow Rescue was prepared for launch before being stood down as the Police located the person.

This callout was just on dusk and time was of the essence – it could have become a difficult night search, so a good outcome for all concerned. Station was closed at 19:00.

14 May 2020

11:30 – Tow requested by the 28′ sailing vessel Pixie, with solo crew who had been at sea for 93 days since leaving South Africa.

She was becalmed to the east of Banks Peninsula with flat batteries. Understandably the skipper was keen to reach land!

Blue Arrow Rescue was launched. Pixie’s motor was fixed by the time we reached her, but we escorted her into Lyttelton Harbour where she was greeted by customs to clear into NZ.

Pixie berthing at LPC

Pixie berthing at LPC

Great to get some time on the water again and to assist a very adventurous sailor, whose journey had originated in Canada.

7 March 2020

12:14 – Called out by a member of the public ato assist a surfer caught in the rip near Scarborough Beach. Urquhart Trust Rescue was launched and the surfer was located and safely brought back to shore.

6 March 2020

15:30 – Called out by Coastguard to attend a sighting of an overturned kayak near Cave Rock. The jet ski Urquhart Trust Rescue was launched and searched the area, finding only a large clump of seaweed. The Station called the informant back to confirm our jet ski was at the correct location of the sighting. The Station was closed down at 16:18.

2 March 2020

19:41 – Called out by a  member of the public who thought two surfers were possibly needing assistance off Scarborough.

Hamilton Jet Rescue with 3 crew was launched to investigate. The surfers were quickly located and checked. They did not need assistance and the rescue vessel returned to base. The shore crew continued to monitor the surfers from the lifeboat station balcony.

This was a very fast response with 9 crew attending.

If you think someone in the water needs help, dial 111 and ask for Police, they will decide whether to task us – or press the emergency button on the side of the lifeboat station which immediately pages the crew. If in doubt, call us out – better safe than sorry.

17 February 2020

19:27 – Called out by the Police to assist a surfer in trouble out past the breakers off Scarborough Beach. Hamiton Jet Rescue launched and headed straight to surfer who was close to Whitewash Head. All were safely back on shore at 19:40.The vessel was cleaned and the station was closed down at20:15.

9 February 2020

16:16 – Called out by the Police to search for a missing person near New Brighton. Hamiton Jet Rescue and Blue Arrow Rescue were launched and started a shore line search from Sumner to New Brighton Pier. Police stood down Sumner crew at 16:45 as the person had been found safely on shore. The vessels were cleaned and the station closed down at 17:15.

2 February 2020

18:00 – A young child was reported missing near the clocktower at Scarborough. We made a very quick launch of our jet boat Hamilton Jet Rescue. One crew member was dropped off near the shore. He started to organise assistance of the public in searching near the shoreline whilst the jet boat undertook a search slightly further out. The search was stood down by the Police after about 5 minutes when the child was found.

31 January 2020

18:08 – Called out by a member of public to assist a swimmer in distress at Moncks Bay who was injured diving. The Sumner Lifeboat Coxswain was contacted and Sumner Lifeboat launched Hamilton Jet Rescue in case on-water assistance was required. The person was being transferred to an ambulance as our vessel arrived, so Hamilton Jet Rescue returned to base. It transpired that the swimmer had serious neck injuries due to diving in shallow water, as reported on Stuff.

30 January 2020

16:50 – A report was received of a solo swimmer entering the water at Sumner Beach but no-one saw her come back out. Our jet ski Urquhart Trust Rescue was quickly launched, closely followed by our all-weather vessel Blue Arrow Rescue. The Sumner Lifeboat vessels coordinated their searches with multiple IRBs from Sumner, New Brighton, South Brighton and Taylors Mistake Surf Life Saving.

25 January 2020

13:52 – Called out by a member of the public to assist a 5m vessel that had rolled in the surf and beached at Scarborough. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and whilst shore crew rushed to help align the vessel with the Sumner surf. The vessel was then towed it back to Sumner slipway. The vessel crew were checked over and advised of potential secondary drowning as some of them were stuck below the boat whilst it was upside down.

12 January 2020

18:00 – Called out by a member of the public to assist a jet ski drifting in the Sumner rip towards Taylors Mistake.
Hamilton Jet Rescue was quickly launched to retrieve the vessel and one person on board. The jet ski and person were recovered to the Sumner slipway.

12 January 2020

09:00 – Called out by police to help with the search for a missing kayaker who had been checking fishing nets on Lake Ellesmere. Uquhart Trust Rescue was trailered to the staging point and then launched, coordinating its search with other units, Police etc. It was a very long day for the two crew out on the lake but sadly the kayaker was not found. A body believed to be the kayaker was found several days later, as reported in this article on Stuff.

1 January 2020

19:00 – Our first call out of 2020 was on New Year’s day, tasked by Police to assist a small motor boat that was being swamped in the surf at Sumner Beach. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and a towline was thrown to the person on board the boat. The line was quickly secured and the boat and its occupant were towed back to the Sumner slipway where the boat was retrieved to its trailer. 

26 December 2019

11:00 – A lifeboat crew member spotted an overturned waka and a person in the water. Our jet ski Urquhart Trust Rescue was launched and the person was quickly rescued. Hamilton Jet Rescue, our jet boat, was then launched to retrieve the waka and the various items that had fallen out of it. 

22 December 2019

00:00 – Called out by Police to assist the rescue of the fishing vessel Debbie Jane 9134 which had run aground off Waimairi Beach with three persons on board. It was a multi-agency mission: Sumner launched Blue Arrow Rescue, Coastguard North Canterbury launched their new vessel Kaiapoi Rescue and the helicopter from Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue was dispatched.

First on scene, the helicopter lowered a rescue swimmer and the three persons were safely transferred from the stranded boat to shore with the two rescue vessels in attendance.

Although a midnight callout, twelve Sumner Lifeboat crew responded. You never know when the pagers will go off! A great result on a windy night at sea.

The rescue made the news with this article on the Stuff website.

9 December 2019

14:30 – Called out by Police, with a report of a floating object, possibly a yellow kayak, close to the shipping lane. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and conducted a search. The object was a large water sampling buoy. However we also encountered a person in a small rowing dinghy who we took on board and returned to shore as they were encountering increasing winds and adverse currents, so a good result!

If you think you have spotted someone in trouble on the water, dial 111, ask for Police and they will assess your report. Or, trigger the alarm button outside the lifeboat station. Never delay – it could be a real person in difficulty. It’s better to have a false alarm than lose a life at sea.

8 December 2019

19:52 – Called out by a member of the public. A surfer was caught in a rip and in offshore winds, heading out to sea past Whitewash Head. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched and the person was quickly found and safely returned to Sumner with no medical issues. Thirteen lifeboat crew responded, a great turnout on a Sunday evening. Thanks also to locals for being on the lookout for surfers who may need assistance.

Hamilton Jet Rescue track

The graphic shows the track of Hamilton Jet Rescue during the mission.

15 November 2019

11:40 –  Called out by Police to attend small boat with 6 persons on board that had lost power between Taylors Mistake and Sumner. It required a tow so Blue Arrow Rescue was launched. The boat,  an aluminium dinghy with an outboard, was quickly recovered and towed to Sumner, with everyone safely transferred to shore. Many thanks for the assistance of the Taylors Mistake & Sumner Surf Live Saving clubs in supporting the recovery in their IRBs.

Tow 15/11/2019

10 November 2019

17:11 – Called out by Police to search for two missing persons off a boat near Godley Head. Blue Arrow Rescue and Hamilton Jet Rescue were launched, and Coastguard Canterbury launched from Lyttelton. The search was joined by the rescue helicopter. Nothing was found and the searchers were stood down – a false alarm.
Search 2019-11-10The image is from our tracking system, and shows the search patterns of the vessels and helicopter.

30 July 2019

17:30 – called out by Police, a member of the public had reported a possible upturned paddleboard near the estuary causeway. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched to investigate. The sighted object was a log and the vessel returned to station.

20 July 2019

17:05 – Blue Arrow Rescue was tasked to search and tow a 35ft yacht in distress south of Motunau. This was a 10hour night mission along with North Canterbury Coastguard.
Marina entranceRead more about this rescue.

31 May 2019
12:34 – called out by Police to assist a jet ski with a craypot line jammed in its jet pump, drifting 5 metres off Godley Head. Crew responded with Hamilton Jet Rescue and Southern Trust Rescue. The jet ski with driver were found and taken under tow and the craypot was left undisturbed.

17 May 2019

11:44 – Called out by Police due to reports of a vessel on fire 2 nautical miles off the Estuary mouth. Crew responded with Hamilton Jet Rescue and Blue Arrow Rescue. On further details from the Police, Blue Arrow Rescue was sent 10Nm offshore to investigate a wider area, due to no vessel found at the first location. Police stood the Lifeboat down at 3:50pm after no further contacts were found.

12 February 2019

11:45 – Police called us out as a surfer had broken their legrope, lost their surfboard and was attempting to swim to shore. Hamilton jet rescue retrieved the surfer and returned him to shore.

17:30 – A swimmer was picked up in the middle of Sumner Bay by Hamilton Jet Rescue crew and returned to shore.

11 February 2019

17:45 – A member of the public called us out as a woman swimmer had been swept out in the Clock Tower rip beside the Lifeboat Station. Hamilton Jet Rescue retrieved the swimmer and also searched for a missing surfer.

09 February 2019

08:35 – A member of the public noticed a kayaker who had fallen out of their kayak and was washed up under Whitewash Head. Hamilton Jet Rescue picked up the kayaker and returned to shore at 0900.

03 February 2019

08:00 – Coastguard call out to a powerboat broken down off Akaroa Heads. Blue Arrow rescue responded. A local tour boat towed the stricken vessel and Blue Arrow rescue returned to station by 0900.

02 February 2019

12:00 – A parapenter was in trouble on the cliffs above Taylors Mistake. He made it down to the water level. Hamilton Jet Rescue was launched, picked up the person and dropped him off at the beach in Taylors Mistake.

28 January 2019

16:02 – RCCNZ called us out to attend a yacht upturned off Godley Head. Blue Arrow Rescue discovered that this was the remains of the yacht that had been abandoned last week.

22 January 2019

01:00 – RCCNZ called us early in the morning to assist a lone sailor whose yacht was sinking south of Banks Peninsula. Blue Arrow Rescue was launched with four crew.  After a three hour night-time journey in heavy seas Blue Arrow Rescue located the yacht. The sailor had to transfer to the lifeboat and abandon his yacht. Apart from extended lack of sleep, he was otherwise healthy.

Trimaran rescue

Trimaran rescue, Jan 2019

Read more about this challenging rescue.

02 January 2019

2134 – A person was reported missing in the water at Taylors Mistake, so Blue Arrow Rescue was launched but shortly thereafter the search was called off.