One of the world's most famous cruise liners offered to join a rescue mission after five fishermen ran aground in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

Skipper Noel Anderson was on board a recreational fishing vessel with three other adults and a child when the boat hit rocks near The Noises, northeast of Rakino Island, at 9pm on Friday night.

The group were on their way back to Half Moon Bay after a day fishing when the incident occurred.

The luxury cruise liner Queen Elizabeth was leaving port when the distress signal was sent out at 9.07pm and offered to help, before the call was answered by Coastguard volunteers.

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The volunteers, who were on board Lion Foundation Rescue and North Shore Rescue, were on the scene within 20 minutes.

Anderson wasn't sure how the incident happened but said the sea and weather conditions weren't an issue.

"I was tracking on my two GPSes and I still can't understand why I hit the rock.

"I had a track and global positioning chart and I also had another GPS beside that," he said.

The skipper was unaware of the Queen Elizabeth's offer.

"My first priority was to the people on board and my son. I was worrying about where we were on the rocks, damage to the vessel, comms and where my lighting was," he said.

North Shore Rescue sent two volunteers on to the rocks to assess the situation. The four men and the child on board were shaken, anxious but unharmed. All five were wearing life jackets.

Coastguard operations manager Ray Burge said the skipper had acted calmly after the incident.

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"It was a fantastic response by the volunteers who quickly got the situation under control," he said.

"The skipper had lifejackets for everyone and was able to make the distress call to get help.

"This makes a huge difference to our ability to respond and get the positive outcome after what was no doubt a frightening experience for those on board."

Anderson was extremely grateful to the Coastguard for their help.

"Coastguard have done excellent work and I take my hat off to them. They will be getting a very reasonable donation for their time and efforts," he said.

"They did everything they could and all my crew on board did what they were told."