The search for two boaties missing in West Coast waters has been suspended overnight.

Two are missing and a man has been rescued from a rock after a boat sank earlier today.

Police said a light plane spotted debris and a life raft on the water near Jackson Bay about 11.30am and contacted emergency services.

A helicopter scoured the area and spotted a man on a rock at Neils Beach about 2.40pm.

Advertisement

He was taken to hospital.

"Two other people who were on the boat, which is believed to have run into trouble on Thursday night, are still missing," police said.

"Two other people who were on the boat, which is believed to have run into trouble on Thursday night, are still missing," the statement said.

Police said the search could not continue now that it was dark.

Search crew would assess weather conditions in the morning before beginning another shoreline search.

There were no plans to use a helicopter in the search again.

Police said they were in contact with the families of the crew and support was being provided.

The vessel is understood to have been a fishing boat from Greymouth.

Police said the rescued man was transported to Greymouth Hospital in a stable condition.

A shore line search had commenced on foot but was limited by the extremely rugged coast line.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn​ said Greymouth had a great, experienced little fishing fleet and always had done.

"They're expecienced fishermen but they fish out of a notorious bar here on the West Coast and they get a lot of westerly swells and that type of thing," he said.

"They're skilled sailors and most of them have been doing it for a long time but as we all know accidents do happen at sea and obviously this is a tragic accident and it's always sad to hear that. We're very close-knit here on the West Coast so everyone takes it pretty hard when we hear people may have drowned, so our hearts go out to the families."