The search for the body of a 49-year-old Wellington boatie is focused on the eastern coast of Wellington Harbour.
Hutt Valley Senior Sergeant Steve Harwood, who is co-ordinating the search, said the police launch would be searching a large area from around the mouth of the Hutt River south on the eastern coast of the harbour.
"There are some private searches being done as well and we have some staff doing shore searches," he said.
Mr Harwood said the accident was a tragic reminder of what could go wrong when people were unprepared on the water.
The man was with a companion in a small dinghy off the mouth of the Hutt River when they fell into the water just after 5pm on Sunday.
The pair were not wearing life jackets, and while one of them managed to get back into 3m dinghy, the other one was swept into the harbour by the strong current.
They were retrieving fishing nets at the time.
"It's quite simple - be prepared for the conditions that you're heading into and you should be wearing a lifejacket," Mr Harwood said.
The police dive squad may be called in to help with the search if visibility conditions permitted it, he said.
The man's name has not yet been released.
- Teuila Fuatai of APNZ