Surfers rescued two men who were thrown from their boat while trying to enter the Buller River off Carters Beach, Westport.
Police said the pair had been in an 8-foot fibreglass fishing boat about 3.41pm yesterday when the boat rolled trying to enter the river.
The occupants were thrown into the water and swept out to sea by the current.
Surfers in the area who had seen the incident went to assist and brought the pair ashore.
The Westport rescue boat was also launched and a rescue helicopter dispatched from Greymouth.
The two boaties, aged 59 and 23, were taken hospital for a check-up, police said.