A sisterly get-together

A sisterly get-together

Photos: Constable Jane Dunn, Wellington Forensic Imaging

Boaties were seeing double in Wellington Harbour last weekend as Police’s two patrol boats got together for the first time.

The Wellington launch Lady Elizabeth IV – aka Lady Liz – played hostess as her Auckland-based sister Deodar III stopped over for the weekend.

Deodar was en route to the vessels’ maker – Q-West Boat Builders, of Whanganui – to have her engines replaced and undergo other work.

While heading south since leaving Auckland on 8 January she has been engaging in multi-agency patrols with counterparts such as Fisheries.

Deodar was launched in 2007, and Lady Liz three years later. Senior Constable Rob Grant, Wellington Coastal Master, says it is thought to be the first time the two boats have shared a port.

“It was really nice to have them here,” he says. “We’re a small specialist unit so it’s good to meet up with people doing the same job.”

The boats were designed by Teknicraft Design of Auckland and are almost identical externally, though Deodar has a row of windows in the forward superstructure which were not deemed necessary for Lady Liz. There are also a few differences in internal equipment.

Impressive though the two craft looked together, they were just a day away from a possible triple act as the new Customs launch Hawk V - another Q-West-built vessel of essentially the same Teknicraft design – called in at Wellington on its way to Auckland.

“It stems from a decision taken that all the agencies should have the same platform so we can all work on each other’s boats,” says Rob.

Lady Liz is based with the Wellington Police Maritime Unit, at the Old Ferry Building on Wellington Harbour. Deodar is based with Auckland’s Maritime Unit at Mechanics Bay, on Waitematā Harbour.

Police's two maritime units have a wide range of responsibilities. They include investigating offences and apprehending offenders, drug recovery operations, search and rescue, enforcing maritime law, enhancing national security through joint agency patrols and supporting the Police National Dive Squad and Special Tactics Group.

They also have a major prevention role, protecting boaties from water-based risks and crime, enhancing boat safety through visits from community and school groups and conducting checks on and off the water to provide assistance and education.