Coastguard New Zealand says its procedures and training were improving even before criticism from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission in a report last year.
The commission examined four Coastguard rescue missions in 2009 and 2010 in which crew were injured, and found fault with planning, practices and training.
Coastguard chief executive Bruce Reid says standards were rising even before the commission issued its report, but it added impetus to the improvements.
However, he rejects the report's criticism of the rigid-hull inflatable vessel used by the Coastguard.
The commission deemed it possibly unsuitable for rough weather, but Mr Reid says it will continue to be used.