Northland police are praising the actions of boaties who went to the rescue of people stranded on a burning launch, while kayakers need to ensure their equipment is seaworthy after a man was rescued from a sinking kayak.

Acting Senior Sergeant Pat Waters said a 7m launch moored near Moturoa Island caught fire after the occupants attempted to start the engine yesterday morning. Emergency services were alerted to the incident just after 6.30am.

A distress call was answered by four boats in the area and the occupants were transported safely to shore with minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

Once on land, they were met by police who made sure they got safely home, Waters said.
The boat has now sunk and it is likely that debris or property from the boat may wash ashore.


Anyone who finds any items that could be linked to the vessel are asked to hand them in to the Mangonui Police Station or contact police via 105 and quote event number P043479939.

Meanwhile, kayakers should make sure their equipment is seaworthy before heading out after a man was rescued from a sinking kayak at Waipū and his lifejacket is being credited for saving his life.

A man was rescued by surf lifeguards from Waipū Cove Surf Life Saving Club 24-hour Emergency call out squad, about 1.5km from shore near Waipū River Mouth on Thursday suffering from mild hypothermia and exhaustion. The rescue highlights the importance of checking gear before going out, Kath Manning, Waipū Club captain said.

The kayak the man was fishing in was missing a bung and a hole covering, which meant it took on a lot of water, and was unable to float efficiently, she said.

He was unable to paddle to shore, clinging to the vertical kayak for about three hours before spotted and 111 called. He was wearing a lifejacket which probably saved his life in the rapidly changing weather conditions.

''Please make sure your gear is seaworthy, wear a lifejacket, and if you see someone in trouble in the water – call 111, ask for police, and they will contact the Volunteer Surf Lifeguard 24-hour emergency call out squad,'' Manning said.