Two men collecting craypots were found by chance disorientated and bobbing in the sea after spending hours in the water off the Bay of Plenty coast.

Bay of Plenty council senior maritime officer Isaac Tait said the pair were retrieving pots off the coast of Whakatane when their overloaded boat flipped at about 8pm on Monday.

The pair spent hours in the water and were spotted by the last vessel returning to shore crossing the Whakatane bar.

"They were seen bobbing in the water next to an upturned boat. Both were disorientated and when they made it to land were treated by an ambulance on site," he said.

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Neither fishermen were carrying any form of communication and had not told anyone about their plans.

Fortunately the pair were wearing lifejackets which helped them survive their ordeal.

"This was a close call but the moral of the story is to always carry two forms of communication that work when wet. In this instance they had neither and therefore no way to call for help. It didn't help that they hadn't told someone where they were going and when they expected to be back too," said Tait.

He thanked those who had helped retrieve the stricken vessel.