A man is missing after taking his boat put for an engine check.

A woman walked into the Mangawhai Surf Life Saving Club last night to report her husband had taken his 7m Buccaneer out and hadn't returned by the planned time. He was last seen heading north.

The club contacted the Northern Coastguard and the police sent the Westpac Rescue helicopter. An aerial shoreline search of the Whangarei Harbour and Bream Bay failed to find the man.

Coastguard Whangarei's Circa Rescue boat searched the inner harbour, but 4m swells prevented a search outside the harbour.

A Coastguard plane has been searching the area around Bream Bay since 7am today, but low cloud and driving rain is impeding the search.