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Two people had to swim to safety after their boat capsized at Taieri Mouth, one of a pair of incidents at the notorious boating spot yesterday.
It comes amid pleas for people to be careful on the water after a spate of drownings over the holidays.
Police were called by members of the public about 9.20am yesterday alerting them to a capsized boat in the estuary area.
Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of Dunedin, said it appeared the boat’s motor had cut out as it was trying to cross the bar. A wave had then tipped it over.
The two people on board were able to swim to safety without any assistance, he said.
An ambulance was called but was not required.
The boat’s owner, an experienced skipper, told a photographer at the scene he did not want to comment other than to say he had gone out over the bar "literally thousands of times".
Snr Sgt Benn said the skipper arranged for a helicopter to come and help retrieve the boat straight away, so it did not become a hazard.
"It was bad luck more than anything."
He said the newly installed camera at Taieri Mouth had been helpful in determining what was happening for emergency responders.
Meanwhile, another boat was left stranded with its occupants on board for much of the day after they struggled to find the channel out to the bar and became stuck on the sand.
It was towed in by another boat yesterday afternoon.
Harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook said he was not called to yesterday’s incidents. He had just spent five days at Lake Dunstan in Central Otago where there were hundreds of boats on the water.
"I would urge people to not be complacent, make sure you do your homework, and be prepared for what you’re going out into.
"There’s information that can help you if you’re not sure what you need to do to keep safe on the water."
It follows a deadly week on the water for New Zealanders, four people having drowned in the Manawatu River in Palmerston North in recent days.
Yesterday a rahui was in place and signs were due to be installed asking people to avoid swimming in the river.
Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Daniel Gerrard recently said December’s drowning statistics were horrendous.
He urged people to follow the old rule, "if in doubt, stay out".
"That could be you heading out in a boat to go fishing with your mates and actually, the conditions are a bit dodgy, [and you] think maybe you shouldn’t go, right through to 'oh, the surf looks OK but it’s actually probably bigger than I can handle, maybe I’ll stay out today'."