The official launch of Waihi Beach's new Coastguard rescue boat was the culmination of two years of hard work and generous community support, says her skipper.
Skipper Graeme Fenn said raising the nearly $700,000 needed to buy Gallagher Rescue, and a new John Deere tractor to tow her, was made possible through support from locals, charities and sponsors including the Lion Foundation and the Gallagher Group.
Built by Mount Maunganui firm Alloycats, the boat is a 9.5-metre Naiad RIB (rigid inflatable boat), with Raymarine electronics. It is driven by two 2013 Yamaha 250 horsepower motors.
The boat is also equipped with custom-made jack plates, used to raise and lower the motors allowing the vessel to go into shallower waters.
Gallagher Rescue was launched on Sunday at Bowentown Boating and Sport Fishing Club and replaces Search One, which was an 8.5m Rayglass.
The new boat has four crew stations, seating for eight, a cabin with two first-aid bunks, space for three stretchers, more storage compartments and more technologically-advanced digital equipment.
Mr Fenn said the new boat was "absolutely amazing" and far safer for rescue crews to operate.
"Safety was the major issue for deciding on this particular vessel," he said.
Mr Fenn said it was a great day seeing the Gallagher Rescue being launched in style, which included a blessing by kaumatua Formby Pio and a dedication by Vicar Brendan Gibbs.
"The only hiccup on the day was the champagne bottle being launched by Lady Judi [Gallagher] wouldn't break," he said.