A father and daughter who were missing on a fishing trip near Thames have been found, after spending a cold night in a broken-down boat.

The alarm was raised this morning by the 73-year-old man's wife when he and the 46-year-old daughter failed to return from the trip in the Firth of Thames on the 4m-long boat named Sledgehammer.

They were spotted from a Coastguard plane this morning after being seen by another boatie following a Coastguard appeal for any sightings.

A Coastguard rescue boat had come alongside the broken-down recreational fishing boat, a fibreglass vessel with an outboard motor, at 10.15am and was able to tow it back to where it had launched yesterday, the Kaiaua Boat Ramp north of Miranda.

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"They were cold and thirsty, but otherwise okay," said Coastguard spokeswoman Georgie Smith.

She said the pair hadn't been able to get in touch with anyone following the boat's breakdown. They had a VHF radio but it wasn't working, and their boat's outboard motor was known to have problems.

Smith said it was essential that boaties took two forms of waterproof communication, such as a VHF radio, cellphone in a waterproof bag, flares or locator beacon.

"And make sure your vessel is fit for purpose."

• Meanwhile, a Coastguard boat and volunteers are near Browns Island helping a boatie whose finger was amputated in an accident involving an anchor winch.