New Zealand’s coastline is as long as the USA’s. We have more recreational boaties in the water than anywhere else in the world.
Unfortunately, we also have more reckless, irresponsible, and intoxicated boaties than anywhere else.
With little government funding, the New Zealand Coastguard is forced to patrol this vast area with a just 75 boats. Their volunteers are often faced with the futile task of finding a needle in a haystack.
We didn’t just tell the country this - we let them experience it.
We capsized a boat and stranded 4 people in the ocean, and challenged the whole of New Zealand to find them, and save them, in the world’s first live-rescue event.
At 1810 a real time piece of film aired on national television. The POV spot put viewers into the shoes of a Coastguard volunteer at the start of a rescue operation to find the stranded boaties. Simultaneously, a frantic mayday call went out on radio.
Viewers were then directed online where they found themselves in a search plane simulator racing against the clock in real time. A GPS locator fed the live position of the real capsized boat into the simulator.
Throughout the evening, live mission updates such a flare sighting played on TV and radio.
Virtual volunteers soon realised they were faced with a hopeless situation - a feeling all too familiar to the Coastguard.
1.8% of those who took part in the mission were successful.
98.2% were not.
The live event captured the country’s imagination and left them with the sobering reality check that if they had been one of the four people at sea they would have had less than a 2% chance of survival.
It proved that the Coastguard need all the help and support they can get.