Two young men nearly drowned after the boat they were heading out to sea in capsized and they became tangled in their nets.

The two men - believed to be in their late teens or early 20s - headed out of Kaituna Cut yesterday in a 5m aluminium dinghy.

They had been heading over the Kaituna bar in poor weather when the boat capsized, trapping them underneath.

Maketu Coastguard's Shane Beech said the men initially became caught in their own fishing nets which had been in the boat with them.

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''They got caught under the boat as well as entangled in the net. They managed to free themselves,'' he said.

''They swam to shore, about 400m toward the Papamoa Beach side [of the cut] and came on shore.''

People fishing at the popular wharf fishing spot alerted emergency services when they saw the boat capsize and the coastguard arrived shortly later.

Mr Beech said the men were left shaken by the incident.

''One was getting towards hypothermic. He was not very well at all,'' Mr Beech said.

''We took him to shore where the ambulance was waiting, then went back and got the other one. He wasn't too bad. He was quite talkative but still very cold.''

Mr Beech said he thought the weather conditions were not suitable for a small boat to attempt to cross the bar.

''The bar, in coastguard terms, was probably unworkable. They probably shouldn't have gone.''

St John territory manager Ross Clarke said the men were looked after by ambulance staff at the scene but neither required hospital treatment.