Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard processes more than 30,000 radio calls throughout the year with its radio room in operation from 6.45am-6pm, seven days a week.
There are two radio operator shifts per day, resulting in each operator monitoring the VHF radio for approximately six hours a day.
One of these operators is Carol Paulin. Carol was relaxing on her vessel in the Tauranga Harbour six years ago when she started listening to the sounds of the boating public logging their trip reports.
“I thought to myself: ‘I have some spare time now, I think that I can do that’,” says Carol.
After three months of training, Carol was logging trip reports, informing the boating public of weather conditions and shipping movements, and helping people who needed on-water assistance.
“Once I was confident with being a radio operator, I asked our training manager what is involved in being a duty officer. After he explained the role, I thought: ‘I can do that’, so I studied and now I’m a duty officer as well.”
Carol is rostered as a radio operator for six hours a week but often fills empty six-hour shifts as well.
She is also on-call as a 24/7 duty officer every sixth week. Carol also stood for the Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard Board in 2017 and took on the role of treasurer for the board.
In 2020 Carol was elected the unit’s president. It is estimated that Carol will give more than 600 hours of her time to the unit in 2022.