The importance of having some form of communication while out on the water was clearly illustrated when a search was sparked for a Northland fisherman who did not arrive at a designated time and could not contact anyone.

A team of search and rescue responders were about to start a search for a Far North man about 11.40am yesterday after he failed to return from his overnight fishing trip.

Northland police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said the man had launched his aluminum boat off a boat ramp at the end of Arawhata Rd, near Kaingaroa, about 5.30pm on Wednesday. However, when he failed to return to his vehicle his wife went looking for him.

"The car was there but there was no sign of the man or the dinghy," Mrs Kennett said.

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As there was no way of contacting him to check his location police were alerted and readied a search team. Just 20 minutes later the man arrived safe and sound.

Mrs Kennett said while the man had let someone know his plan some form of communication was essential when heading out on the water.

"Whether it's a cellphone or a marine radio you have to have some form of communication."