Northland police are advising those venturing out to sea to be well-prepared, including having the right tools for activities they plan to carry out.
The advice followed the rescue off One Tree Point of a 64-year-old man who went fishing in a 3-metre kayak suitable only for children.
Northland Police search and rescue co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe, said the One Tree Point resident was fishing in a small kayak about 300 metres from shore just before 5pm on Saturday.
The man fell out of the kayak and could not get back in.
Mr Metcalfe said members of the public saw the kayak without a person in it and someone went out in a dinghy and brought both to shore.
"He was wearing a lifejacket but he'd gone out in a little kid's kayak which is not suitable for fishing. He'd tied himself to a buoy and at some stage had tipped over,'' Mr Metcalfe said.
"Luckily someone saw him. He'd been in the water for only 40 minutes. He himself admitted, if he had no lifejacket on, he would have drowned.
"But the message is if you are going out to sea you have to be prepared. Although he was wearing a lifejacket, the kayak he was using was unsuitable for fishing that far offshore," Mr Metcalfe said.
The man was cold but was otherwise fine.
Northland police have previously advised people going out to sea to always carry safety equipment such as a cellphone and to conduct water activities alongside other people.
In January, an Australian tourist who went kayaking from Mangonui but failed to return was spotted on rocks and picked up by a passing boatie.
The 31-year-old was caught in a current and swept on to rocks near Knuckle Pt in Doubtless Bay.
He was sunburned and hungry but did not need medical attention.
A sea, shore and air search by Coastguard Northern air patrol, Whangaroa Rescue, police search and rescue and Far North LandSar volunteers was launched after he failed to return.
In January last year, two kayakers were rescued by a local boatie after they fell out of their kayaks near the entrance to Hokianga Harbour.
They did not require medical attention.