Three people were rescued by Maketu Coastguard after an inflatable boat flipped as it was coming in across the Pukehina bar yesterday.

Coastguard president Shane Beech said one of the four people aboard the boat swam to shore and the others clung to the upturned hull until two Coastguard jetskis reached them.

"It turned out to be a good result," he said after the successful rescue.

The upside-down boat had drifted nearly 500m up the coast towards Maketu and was in the line of surf when the jetskis ridden by Mr Beech and Mark Gordon reached it.


"The ones that we brought in were fine. They took on a bit of water," he said.

The occupants of the boat, who ranged in age from 10 to 43 and included a woman, were staying at Bledisloe Holiday Park at Little Waihi and were treated by St John Ambulance paramedics.

People on the beach raised the alarm shortly after 1pm. Mr Beech said there was a bit of swell running on the bar and it looked as if someone mistimed as the 5.5m inflatable came in.

Close behind the jetskis was Maketu Coastguard's jet boat which towed the overturned boat back to shore.

Mr Beech said all three of the people they rescued were wearing lifejackets and had made the correct decision to stick with the upturned boat.

It was Maketu Coastguard's 15th rescue this summer, including a call to Motiti Island on Saturday where a diver had suspected bends.

Mr Beech said that by the time they got him back to the mainland, it looked more like a case of a ruptured ear drum, but continued to treat him as if it was the bends.

Coastguard was also involved in an earlier drama at 8.30am yesterday when a boat flipped crossing Coromandel's Tairua bar, tipping three fishermen into the sea. Two were rescued from heavy surf by Coastguard, while the third man waited on rocks and was rescued by a surf club IRB.

A rescue helicopter hovered nearby in case it was needed. Command Centre senior sergeant Robbie Hermann said the fishermen were rescued within about 15 minutes of being thrown out.

"None of them were wearing lifejackets," Mr Hermann said. The men were met by two ambulances at the Pauanui wharf and were uninjured.