IMRF associate members, Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club have come first in the 2020 Surf Life Saving New Zealand National Awards of Excellence. 

The Awards which were announced on 19 September 2020, were held online because of covid-19 restrictions. 

SLS Kariaotahi was decorated for its role in a multi-agency response which saved three lives after a boat capsized on the Waikato River Bar.  Bradley Walters, head of lifesaving at Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club, says without the well-executed rescue plan, years of prior training, sound processes and risk assessments in place by all agencies involved and the fast, efficient patient pick up performed by the IRB under difficult conditions, it would be almost certain that three lives would have been lost that night.

SLS Kariaotahi also wins the award for Innovation of the Year

In addition, SLS Kariaotahi is one of only a few clubs nationally that can operate at night - and they can do it thanks to 3D printing. 

Night operations are extremely dangerous and can only be conducted by highly trained crews, operating under strict safety controls and where the risk is justified by the realistic potential to save life.

SLS Kariaotahi have won the DHL award for Innovation of the Year for their use of 3D printing to create a mount for navigation lists in an IRB - an issue that had created headaches for years. 

The light is mounted above the engine cowling via a simple clip with the base attached to a standard GoPro surface mount, making it easy to attach and remove. 

Feedback from the Police Eagle helicopter crew after a rescue in May 2019 of three people was that the IRB was difficult to spot from the air at night.  3D printing again helped with the solution. 

A lightweight mount was designed to attached flashing lights to the crew’s helmets, again via a commercially available GoPro attachment. 

These lights and mounts are now part of the standard PPE for night operations and are now part of the club's Night Operations Kit.