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Police say the 18-year-old set off from Kenepuru Sound about 10pm last night and went through the Pelorous Sounds in a motored dingy before crossing the Cook Strait.
About 9am today the teen contacted the Harbour Master alerting that he had broken down off the Mana Coast, but was unsure of his location.
Police were able to geo-locate him from his cell phone and found that he was about 12km west of Mana Island. A Westpac helicopter attended and directed Police to his location.
"The man was in a reasonably good condition, slightly cold but not hypothermic and was brought back to shore by Police.
Senior Sergeant Dave Houston said that while this was a good outcome and no one was injured, it was a reminder that the Cook Strait was a dangerous stretch of water.
"You need to have all proper safety equipment and be an experienced and capable seaman if you are going to make this coastal voyage.
"The conditions overnight were rough for a small dingy.
"While, the man did have a life jacket on and carried his cell phone, he had not checked the weather conditions and was not an experienced seaman. Everybody going out on the water needs to remember to wear a lifejacket, check the conditions and only go out if it is calm and go out in daylight.
"If it wasn't for him ringing and us being able to locate him from his phone data it could have been a very different outcome," Houston said.
"The battery on his cell phone was becoming flat. If we didn't have the mobile locate we would have had a massive search. The mobile locate, literally saved his life."