These are the photos that show the moment a fishing boat was engulfed and flipped over by a wave at the Coromandel's Tairua Bar.

A sequence of photos taken by an onlooker shows the boat's occupants thrown into the sea this morning.

The three fishermen were crossing the bar between Tairua and Pauanui in heavy surf and were caught out by the force of a large wave.

READ MORE: Fishermen tell of dramatic sea rescue


Two of the men were picked up from the water by the coast guard, while the third waited on rocks and was rescued by a surf lifesaving IRB.

Herald reader Tim Hunt watched the event unfold from afar and took a series of photos showing the boat heading towards the waves, being tipped over, the men floating in the water and finally being rescued. A rescue helicopter was also hovering over.

Mr Hunt said it must have been scary for the men.

Waikato District Command Centre senior sergeant Robbie Hermann confirmed the occupants were rescued within about 15 minutes of being thrown into the water.

"None of them were wearing lifejackets but luckily all three have been rescued."

The men were met by two ambulances at the Pauanui wharf but were uninjured.