Boaties rescued off Raglan coast

Seven men have been rescued off the coast of Raglan after finding themselves stuck in rough water and rising winds.

The men were on board a 5.5m aluminium vessel without sufficient communication, and were only rescued after a chance sighting by a commercial fisherman as darkness fell on Monday night.

Despite the men reportedly carrying lifejackets aboard, their rescue has prompted the Coastguard to issue a warning about going out to sea without efficient means to communicate and unprepared for changing weather conditions.

"A local commercial fishing vessel was coming back from a voyage, we believe, and it was them that located them and contacted us," said Georgie Smith, spokeswoman for Coastguard northern region.

"They took the vessel under tow, in through the bar and back safely into the harbour, and our vessel Gallagher Rescue and volunteers from Coastguard Raglan went out. They uplifted the people from the vessel, took them to shore to an awaiting ambulance just to check them all over and then went back and assisted with the tow."

Ms Smith told Radio New Zealand the men were floating outside Raglan Harbour, which is "quite notorious", especially in adverse weather conditions.

The men became stuck shortly before dark as winds began picking up with ex-cyclone June bearing down on New Zealand on Monday night.

Boaties are advised to log a trip report with their local Coastguard before going out to sea, and have two types of waterproof communications on board, as well as ensuring that everybody has a lifejacket.

Ms Smith said that given the weather conditions so far this summer, "we've been really lucky".

"From about December 24 to January 19 we've gone to the help of 408 incidents, which I guess in the end relates to hundreds of people brought home to safety," she said.

- Patrice Dougan of APNZ

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