IM this article to a friend!

February 14, 2005

Deaf boaties' drama shows value of texting

From: New Zealand Herald, New Zealand - Feb 14, 2005

Coastguard staff members used text messages to find some deaf people whose boat had broken down on the Kaipara Harbour.

The 5.4m-long aluminium dinghy with five people on board broke down around 8.30pm on Saturday outside the harbour bar.

Coastguard Northern Region duty officer Mike Lawrence said a family member of one of the people on board rang the Coastguard at 10pm saying they had been alerted by text message that they were going to be late, but that they were still not home.

The informant gave out cellphone numbers of those on board, and by text message the Coastguard was able to establish that the boat was being towed to shore after those on board flagged down a passing charter vessel.

It was the first time that the Coastguard Northern Region had used text messaging in a rescue, Mr Lawrence said.

He said it "would have been good" to have had somebody on the vessel who could use the VHF radio.

"To be able to use it you would have to hear it. It definitely made things harder communication-wise."

Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd