Lifejackets saved the lives of boaties in two water emergencies as people took to the lakes and seas this weekend.

Two children were among those pulled from the water.

Coastguard Auckland spokeswoman Georgie Smith said three people were thrown into the water in Manukau Harbour yesterday morning when their Hobie catamaran flipped.

Smith did not know how old those involved were, but a Westpac Rescue helicopter crew member said he believed two were children. The helicopter was turned back before reaching the scene.


Another boatie came to the trio's rescue and was helping them right their catamaran when the Coastguard boat arrived.

Smith praised the catamaran's occupants for wearing lifejackets. "That's just so fantastic to see, it makes such a difference," she said.

By contrast, 45-year-old So'saia Paasi and his 7-year-old son Tio drowned when their dinghy capsized in Manukau Harbour in May last year. Neither the pair nor three other children in the dinghy, who were rescued, were wearing lifejackets.

Smith also praised the five occupants of 14m launch Southern Conquest, who were rescued by the Coastguard after striking rocks in the Whangaruru Harbour, 55km north of Whangarei, about 10pm on Friday.

The skipper called for help on their VHF radio and other boaties in the area responded, as well as the Coastguard, she said. The occupants were also wearing lifejackets and three had escaped the launch on a liferaft.

"They had VHF radio, they had lifejackets and they had a liferaft. They were a great example."