Thursday, June 20, 2024

America’s Cup experience a career highlight

With over 24 years’ experience in Wellington Maritime Unit, being part of the crew supporting the recent America’s Cup series in Auckland was hands down the career highlight for unit OC Senior Sergeant Dave Houston.

Dave was one of three Wellington Maritime staff who were deployed to assist the Auckland Maritime Unit to ensure public safety on and off the water throughout the prestigious event.

“It was fantastic to be involved in such a spectacular event. The atmosphere on the water and around the harbour was electric with thousands of people on the hills watching and cheering on the races,” he says.

No moment was this truer than when the Maritime Unit escorted Emirates Team New Zealand back to the viaduct after their epic win.

Dave describes a stampede of boats greeting them as they turned the corner.

He says keeping the vessels in check proved to be “a bit of a mission” but says it was good to see everyone in great spirits.

In addition to the shared memories of the spectacular event, the lessons shared between the two Maritime Units were invaluable, he said.

“Our Auckland colleagues are fantastic,” says Dave.

“They were very welcoming of us and it was a great opportunity to work alongside them and see what they do and how they do it. The technical knowledge of the team and seeing their procedures at work was very impressive.”

Despite having a large contingent of boats in the harbour, there were no major issues – a testament to the planning and hard work put in by the operational team.

Policing the water highways included speaking with skippers to ensure they were travelling at safe speeds and looking after their passengers onboard.

NZ Police say the opportunities to learn extended to partner agencies also.

During their deployment, the Maritime Unit stayed at the Naval Base in Devonport and were able to learn from Navy staff on the ships.

The brand-new Police 1 boat was used alongside six patrol boats, a Police launch and a jet ski. Police 1 will be coming back to Wellington where it will be used for front line maritime policing duties, including Search and Rescue.

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