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He was Robert (Bob) Wilfred Clearwater (75) of Portobello.
Senior Sergeant Kelvin Lloyd, of Dunedin, said the aluminium dinghy capsized in Papanui Inlet on the Otago Peninsula at 2pm.
The two people in the dinghy were thrown from the boat into the water. One person held on to a buoy, but the other encountered difficulties and could not be revived, Snr Sgt Lloyd said.
The survivor was taken to Dunedin Hospital by the Otago Rescue Helicopter for treatment of suspected water inhalation, Snr Sgt Lloyd said.
Police inquiries suggested life jackets were not worn, or available, on the dinghy.
Details of the victim would be released when next of kin had been advised, he said.
The matter had been referred to the coroner.