• Richard Segar.
  • Richard Segar (far left) with Coastguard crew Scott Webb, Julia Heiss, Daniel Patton, Sven Naumann, and Thomas Barnaby.

Making a difference with Coastguard

My Shore Life

Richard Segar is a Torbay resident who, among other things, is a volunteer for Coastguard North Shore. We asked him a few questions about his life on the Shore…


Channel Magazine: Tell us a little about yourself.

Richard Segar: I work full time in loyalty for Simplicity CRM in Albany and have for four or so years now, but can occasionally be spotted behind the wheel of a Bayes bus filling in after being a driver for them while attending Massey uni. I have also been a volunteer with Coastguard North Shore for just over six years.  When not on the water or working, my girlfriend and I are renovating, but we still try to get away for the occasional weekend somewhere out of cell service.

CM: What do you love most about living in Torbay?

RS: Honestly, just the area!  The sounds, the fresh air and being no more than five minutes’ drive from three beaches is just awesome. I spend a bit of time overseas for work and I see some amazing places, but nowhere has managed to top home. I have a photo on my desktop of the rescue boat, on a day as good as they come, backing out to sea from the trailer with Rangitoto and Rakino in the background.  When that appears on the monitor in a presentation the usual response is “Wow! Where is that?”  Warms my heart every time I get to say, “That’s home”.

CM: How long have you lived in Torbay? 

RS: I spent my first 18 months in Bucklands Beach but naturally have no memory of that!  Since then, five years in Castor Bay, 16 years in Okura and now living in Torbay.

CM: What activities or organisations are you involved with? 

RS: I started with Coastguard North Shore as a recruit in March 2013 and have since worked through to operational crew, then to senior. In April this year I sat my masters exams and am now a skipper for the unit also. Crewing on the boat involves a weekend day every few weeks on the water from roughly 9:30am to around 5:30/6pm depending on taskings so we are often out later than that. I have also been pager crew (yes, they are still a thing) since 2014 for callouts when the boat isn’t already on the water e.g. weekdays, weekend nights and one Christmas dinner.

While being boat crew, I have also been involved with several off-boat roles in the unit. Having experience with heavy vehicles I was almost immediately trained to drive the tractor and now train others. I have also been involved in recruitment, training, been on the committee, and now the role of Vice President.

CM: Why are you passionate about this?

RS: It started off as wanting to be part of an organisation that provided support and assistance for people in the community who wanted to get out and enjoy the ocean. I stayed because I can see and feel the difference we make and because of the learning opportunities on and off the water. There’s also a strong family vibe in the unit which makes it hard to not be passionate about the things we achieve. For the year ending 30 June, our crew responded to 238 calls for assistance, and returned 621 people home to land safely. The vessel was on the water for more than 1,160 hours and on water alone, our crew contributed over 5,800 hours of sea time including both training and time on taskings.

CM: What else might you be involved with if you had more time?

RS: Maybe get back into 4wding?  Or just put more time into house renovations!

CM: Do you have a favourite local event that you look forward to each year?

RS: The Santa Parade in Browns Bay is always a great event.  We tow the boat around at the tail-end of the parade each year with Santa sitting on the cabin and a lot of our crew and their families come down to walk with the boat for the parade itself.  Each year we then have a dinner or BBQ at the beach for anyone that can make it, which is a good way to start the busy season and for me marks the start of Christmas every year.

CM: If you could change one aspect of Torbay what would it be?

RS: Less privet would be good; their flowers do not agree with my sinuses…

CM: Who would you most like to have as a neighbour and why?

RS: I’m not fussy!  So long as they are approachable and happy to catch up at short notice for a Sunday afternoon beer every now and then, plus the occasional meal…  What else could you want?


Group photo names:

Richard Segar, Scott Webb, Julia Heiss, Daniel Patton, Sven Naumann, Thomas Barnaby