A lucky escape for three people who were rescued from their sinking boat off a beach on Auckland's North Shore.

Auckland Coastguard was alerted just after 9pm last night to a five metre fibreglass vessel that was taking on water, one nautical mile off Mairangi Bay.

Duty officer Mark Leevers says those on board were bailing out water.

"The Lion Foundation rescue boat arrived alongside the vessel just before 9.30pm.

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"The crew took the three people off the boat, pumped the water out of it and towed it back to Takapuna Beach.

"Three people on board were wearing lifejackets, didn't have a VHF radio but called for help on a mobile.

"They seemed to have coped with the ordeal quite well, apart from one person who was quite concerned.

"A small crack was found at the rear of the boat, near the engine mount."

A man was rescued earlier in the nigh, at 8pm, after his catamaran flipped near Meola Reef in Westmere.

A neighbour helped the man in a kayak and the boat was towed to Westhaven.