USD $19.00

Commander Larry Robbins joined the British Merchant Navy straight from school, gained his Second Mates Certificate and emigrated to New Zealand on joining the Royal New Zealand Navy. He served in the RNZN Hydrographic Surveying Service, culminating as the Hydrographer to the RNZN.

He commanded the survey ship HMNZS MONOWAI from 1994 until she decommissioned in 1998. During this time the ship became involved in what was to become the largest maritime Search and Rescue operation ever mounted out of New Zealand. MONOWAI and four other vessels between them rescued 21 people from 7 yachts, MONOWAI rescuing 8 people from 3 yachts. MONOWAI’s crew received a number of prestigious awards including mention in the US Congressional record. Commander Robbins was awarded the OBE for his part.

On retiring from the RNZN he was appointed as the Chief Executive (Director) of the NZ National Maritime Museum, a position he held for 8 years until retiring to pursue other interests. In addition to directing the museum he gained his Inshore Launchmaster’s certificate which allowed him to skipper the museum’s heritage vessels, NZ’s oldest steamboat, PUKE, and the scow TED ASHBY.

He now pursues interests with a number of non-profit organisations and consults to small museums and in hydrographic and maritime matters. His website is

Sample tips

  • Regularly check that sea cocks are opening and closing easily and are not leaking. When you open a sea cock leave it just cracked off hard open to avoid it jamming.
  • A strobe light hoisted up the mast can be a very effective means of drawing attention to your vessel at night especially when ocean sailing and no visual watch is being kept (though this latter is not a recommended practice).
  • The first rule of boat handling is that when you berth the boat well there will be no-one to applaud, but the reverse is even truer! Skill at boat handling is acquired through practice.
  • A boat with twin motors or engines  can be turned round in a very short space using the engines alone, putting one engine astern and one ahead. Propellers are designed to be most efficient when pushing the boat ahead, so set the astern engine to slow revs and use small increments on the ahead engine to turn the boat. [to turn the boat short around with the bow moving to port set the port engine astern and starboard engine ahead]. 
  • Put your bungs in BEFORE launching a boat! If you don’t, and cannot immediately find the bungs, moving ahead at a moderate speed will probably reduce the inflow of water.