Kaka Point life-savers win Vote the Boat competition

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JACK.CONROY@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

A group of real-life heroes got their time in the spotlight at the 2019 South Otago A&P Show.

The Kaka Point Surf Life Saving Club was the winner of the recent BP Vote the Boat competition, receiving a new inflatable rescue boat, worth $25,000, along with a trailer, an outboard engine, life jackets, helmets, a fuel bladder and a fuel card.

During the two-week national campaign more than 17,500 votes were cast, and Kaka Point received the most public votes of the four finalist clubs.

Other clubs were Waipu Cove in Northland, East End in New Plymouth, and Midway in Gisborne.

Members of the group attended the show last weekend to celebrate their win and let the public see the new gear.

“It is so nice to have the support of the community in voting for us,” Emma Kell said.

“They obviously value what we’re doing. We’ll make sure to put the boat to good use.”

Much of that good use would involve spending the summer season patrolling the 200km of coast between Brighton and Oreti, the other two nearest surf life-saving clubs.

Mrs Kell said the money saved from receiving the equipment could go towards improvements to the club.

“Imagine how long it would have taken us to raise those kinds of funds for a new boat,” she said.

“Instead we can focus on renovating the clubrooms and increasing storage.”

Treasurer Nyree Dickie said the stories of people who supported the club during the voting were “truly humbling”.

“For us at Kaka Point, money is really tight,” Mrs Dickie said.

“Our heartfelt appreciation goes to BP and our local Balclutha BP station for their amazing, ongoing support.”

Balclutha BP manager Tom Boyle said the business had surf life club members at the store for two weeks to generate interest.

“We just really want to support surf life-saving,” Mr Boyle said

BP New Zealand managing director Debi Boffa congratulated the Kaka Point club.

“We know this new rescue boat is much-needed and will make a tangible difference to keeping our beaches safe.”