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Tamus Watts and William Jenner completed the course in May and are now legally able to use a VHF radio when onboard a vessel. In New Zealand, you need a license to operate one unless it’s an emergency or distress call.

The course was put on by Coastguard and Tamus and William were joined by seven volunteers from the GBI Coastguard unit.

Aotea Great Barrier’s Coast Guard boat at Tryphena Wharf

Tamus says it wasn’t hard, but there was a lot of information to process and an exam at the end. “The highlight was gaining NCEA Level 3 credits – an added boost to gaining my level 3 certificate.”

Hub manager William Park says the course completion is significant. “In a practical sense this is a peek at the maritime industry, and gives our students real world learning and competence to operate a VHF radio.

“But it has also given them the confidence and ability to improve their safety at sea, when boating with family and friends. And should they decide to take a commercial route in seafaring, they already hold an internationally-recognized certificate.”

Words by Aotea Education Trust