A drunk boatie drifting 5km off Northland's coast in a dinghy was adamant emergency services should rescue him immediately.

It was the perfect example of how not to go boating, according to those forced to rescue the 52-year-old man, and a warning to other boaties to follow safe boating rules as warmer weather looms.

The man, from the Matapouri area on the Tutukaka coast, had no life jacket or any other safety equipment such as flares and had an old-style cellphone.

After being brought ashore at Tutukaka Harbour he was breath-tested and was nearly twice the legal limit for driving a vehicle.


The drama began last Tuesday when the man, after a few drinks, decided to head out to sea in a dinghy from Matapouri Bay about 10.30am.

Sergeant Craig Burrows, who was in charge of the rescue for the Northland police search and rescue squad, said the man had misjudged the weather and was soon blown offshore. The man raised the alarm by calling police demanding he be rescued.

By the time the Tutukaka Coastguard found the man he was 5km east of Sandy Bay and "headed towards the Poor Knight Islands".

"He was very belligerent and angry and wanted to be rescued immediately," Burrows said.

"This is a very clear illustration of why drinking and water activities do not mix. He put himself in unnecessary risk and took up valuable emergency service time that could have been better spent."

The dinghy was also not in good repair.