The recovery effort for an 18-year-old missing after his boat capsized off New Plymouth has resumed with a search party of more than 30 people.

The teen, who has not yet been named, has been missing since around 6.30am on Monday when a five-metre stubby craft flipped while he was checking cray pots with a friend near Mataora Island.

"Together they've made a decision that they would try to swim for shore, which one of the two men has been successful in doing," Senior Sergeant Thomas McIntyre told reporters on Monday afternoon.

As they were swimming to shore the 18-year-old began to struggle and the first man threw him a life jacket, though it's not sure if he was able to get to it.


A limited search has been underway since Wednesday when police said it had shifted from rescue to recovery.

A party of 35 Land Search and Rescue volunteers from Whanganui and Taranaki and police is continuing to search the coastline and water areas close to shore on Saturday.

"Our thoughts are with the missing man's family and friends at this sad and difficult time," police said in a statement thanking those involved in the search.