Three boaties have been plucked from the Kawhia Harbour after their vessel overturned trying to cross the bar.
Northern Coastguard said 5m craft was flipped by a wave entering the Waikato harbour about midday yesterday.
The alarm was raised after another skipper crossing the bar spotted three men in the water.
Coastguard said luckily the vessel that came to the rescue saw them within minutes of capsizing but because of rough conditions had to wait for a safe opportunity to pull the stricken men aboard.
The saved boaties were all wearing lifejackets but had failed to make a bar crossing report to Coastguard.
The Coastguard rescue vessel was put on standby but the men were rescued before extra help was needed.
Coastguard said yesterday's rescue highlighted the importance for all boaties crossing the bar to make contact. They would be put on a timed watch and if there was no contact a search would start immediately.