The search for a missing 18-year-old man whose boat flipped off the coast of Taranaki is now a recovery operation.

A police spokeswoman said it was not expected he would be found alive but a limited search would continue.

"Police would like to thank all of the people and organisations involved in the search so far," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

"Our thoughts are with the missing man's family and friends at this sad and difficult time."

Police were called to the scene near Paritutu Rock just after 9am on Monday.

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Conditions in the area were bleak with choppy seas buffeted by a blustery wind.

One person was rescued but the second man was not found and the small boat, believed to be a dinghy, had sunk.