Coastguard Wanaka Lakes' (CWL) has a new thermal camera to assist with search operations after dark and in inclement weather.
Thanks to a grant from Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust, the organisation received about $6000 to purchase a Pulsar Thermal Imaging Scope Helion XP28 with an interchangeable lens. After testing three different models about six months ago, the CWL crew made the choice that best fit their criteria. "It is designed for outdoor conditions, is fully waterproof, frost resistant and has a detection range of up to 1000m," said CWL senior crew member Richard Meylan.
Besides just offering an ability to see in the dark, the thermal imaging field of view can be streamed directly onto a tablet when on location.
The monocular will be stored at CWL's leased headquarters at the Wanaka A&P Showgrounds; however, Wanaka LandSAR, which also needs the night vision support, will share the use of the tool.
CWL applied for the funding to have equipment that will enable them to better see people in the dark or in rough weather conditions as they battle challenging rescues around the clock. "We've had a rescue in Lake Hawea at 1.00am in the morning prior to getting the monocular, and that was what raised the issue of us searching at night in a lake with no lights," said CWL newest skipper David Balls, who performed the due diligence on the monocular. "'How do you spot somebody?' That started the investigation."
The Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust has a long history in helping people and organisations achieve their goals. "We would like to thank Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust for this very generous funding," said CWL president Jonathan Walmisley. "We appreciate it is one of the bigger grants from the fund and that the Trustees recognised this as an important tool for keeping the Wanaka area safe for people to enjoy. In particular, we would like to thank Dean Bartley with Wanaka New World as it was his endorsement of this application that helped it come to fruition."
Bartley told the Wanaka Sun, "It's exciting that Wanaka New World and Foodstuffs South Island could contribute to helping with the monocular. It's amazing for Wanaka in general and the region and we are happy to support where we could with Coastguard Wanaka Lakes and search and rescue."
Pictured: (left to right) Dean Bartley, Natashia Bartley (Wanaka New World co-owners) and David Balls (Coastguard Wanaka Lakes newest skipper) with CWL’s new thermal imaging monocular.