A man who drowned after a boat flipped at a beach in the Horowhenua had earlier been offered a life jacket, but turned it down.
A Coroner's report has been released into the death of Thomas Michael Angove.
The 60-year-old, an avid fisherman, had gone out in a dinghy with his granddaughter's partner, Puawai Kaihau, on January 17, 2015.
The two men had been heading out to retrieve a fishing net that had been set the day before.
"Mr Kaihau was wearing a life jacket and a wetsuit. Mr Angove was only wearing a wetsuit,'' the report says.
"Mr Kaihau offered Mr Angove the life jacket as they were launching the dinghy but he refused it, saying that the jacket was too small for him.''
The report says although the weather conditions were very good, the sea conditions were "extremely rough,'' with between 2m to 3m swells and strong westerly winds.
Angove had arrived at the beach about 3pm that day.
Other family members had been there - with the dinghy - for about an hour already.
The vessel was an inflatable boat with an outboard motor.
Another fisherman who had been at the beach at the same time and who had spoken to Angove prior to the incident, said he was surprised when he saw Angove's dinghy being launched just before 4pm, given the choppy conditions.
"I could not believe they had made the decision to launch,'' the fisherman says.
The report goes on to say the men had just made it past where the waves were breaking when they got into trouble.
The dinghy's motor began to make a banging noise and as Angove stopped to adjust it, it cut out completely.
The pair decided to head back to shore. But a large wave rushed towards them and tipped both men into the water.
Kaihau told the Coroner's investigation he saw Angove struggling in the waves and called out to him to lie on his back.
Not long after, he spotted the 60-year-old lying face down in the water and was by then quite a distance from him.
As Kaihau had a life jacket on, he managed to get back to shore safely.
Emergency services were called to the scene. Angove's body washed up about 15 minutes after the dinghy capsized.
Although CPR was carried out by a member of the public, and later emergency staff, Angove was pronounced dead at the scene.