As a 40-tonne, 21m catamaran drifted towards the rocks during a storm two Paihia men jumped in a small tinny with a 15 horsepower motor ready to rescue it.

It was Dan Hirzel's day off last Thursday but he was down at Bay Beach Hire, in Paihia, making sure the gear was secure in the storm.

Then he looked out his window and saw a catamaran which had come off its moorings.

"I thought, 'that's a big boat', and I said to my friends, 'can you guys help me?' - and they looked at me and laughed, like, 'what, you go out there and try and rescue it?'"

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And that's exactly what he did.

Todd Evers, who owns Alfresco's Restaurant and Bar, ran across the road keen to help.

The two men, who are both experienced boaties, blasted out to the boat in a 3.6m dinghy in four to five metre swells about 12.15pm.

Mr Hirzel called Russell Radio, a maritime radio service, and advised them he needed back up and asked them to advise the Coast Guard and the Northland Regional Council.

"If I didn't make an effort to get out there and do it I can imagine not just the damage to the boat but the environmental impact to the Bay. I don't know how much diesel they've got on board but that could've been an absolute mess."

Mr Hirzel said they attached the dinghy to the boat using rope and used the tide to their advantage.

They let the catamaran go with the drift of the tide while they went ahead of the boat. They asked a surfer to jump on board the catamaran and secure a line to a mooring and by the time the catamaran drifted over the mooring they pulled up the rope tightly and resecured it.

"I'm a comfortable captain. I was watching my back the whole time for another wave to break over my shoulder. To do what we done was an absolute miracle. To be honest with you I still can't believe we got it off."

Mr Evers said he was just doing what good boaties do.

"I've done a lot of time on the water. I've been on the water for probably 28 years easy. You get caught in a bit of a stuff yourself from time to time."

Mr Hirzel said the boat owners were extremely grateful and bought the pair some beer to say thank you.