A paramedic who swam more than 100m to help an injured boatie says the feat was "hardly heroic".

A rescue helicopter was called to Stony Bay, Coromandel, on Monday about 4pm after a 66-year-old man suffered a deep "raggedy" forearm cut on his yacht.

Raging winds caused his arm to get caught between the tender and the rigging wire as he attempted to secure it on his yacht, about 150m out from shore.

But the distance was no struggle for paramedic Stefan Gabor - a lifeguard for more than 20 years - who swam out to the yacht with supplies to check on the skipper.


The 66-year-old man could not sail as a result of the injury, causing him and his partner to be stuck in hefty winds rattling through the isolated Stony Bay.

Mr Gabor told NZME News Service the swim was simply part of the job.

"It was a deep, large, raggedy laceration to his left forearm. He couldn't use his arm anymore...so they were kind of stuck and they couldn't go anywhere. It was initially bleeding quite severely," Mr Gabor said.

"I've been a lifeguard on the West Coast, this was a flat water swim so it wasn't hard. It was hardly heroic, it wasn't anything too out there. We just wanted to ascertain where things were at and make sensible decisions from there.

"It happens every year really, when boaties get in trouble...We normally winch onto boats or into the ocean and then swim out to the boat. It depends on what the nature of the call is and how urgently we need to get onto the boat."

It was "a real team effort" between the rescue helicopter team, Whitianga Coastguard and maritime police, Mr Gabor said.

He decided to swim to the boat after the helicopter crew realised the 33-foot yacht with high masts and rigging would be hard to winch from.

Mr Gabor sat with the injured man until Whitianga Coastguard arrived and was able to transport the three of them to shore.


The man's wound was dressed and he was then flown to Thames Hospital emergency department.

"He had already looked after the arm quite well, we just secured the boat really. We were a bit worried the anchor was going to pull and, if it was, we were just going to have to get them back to shore.

"He needed medical care but we weren't going to rush things too much because it wasn't life or limb sort of danger stuff."

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust spokeswoman Kerrie Spicer said the Westpac chopper received the call-out from police boat Deodar after the man called Coastguard and Maritime Police over radio.