If you're going out on the water, let people know where you are and when you will be back.

That's the warning Northland police have after a search and rescue operation and subsequent inquiries failed to find a man and a boy who were reported to be in trouble in the water at Oakura Bay on Wednesday night.

Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Craig Burrows said police were confident the pair were no longer in the water in the greater Oakura Bay area, but said it was a good reminder for people to let people know where they were going.

"Ensuring someone knows roughly where you're going can be quite critical and just letting them know a rough time [of returning] so if you are late, the warning can be sent out early, rather than later, as it makes the searching much easier.

Advertisement

"It also means if someone knew their husband or partner and son were fishing in Oakura in a small dinghy and they heard police and helicopters, they could approach us," he said.

Police received reports of a man, who was not wearing a life jacket, and boy stranded near an overturned dinghy about 6.10pm on Wednesday and a search involving Northland Rescue Helicopter, two Coastguard vessels, and a Defence Force Orion, which was in the area, started soon after.

It was called off about 12.40pm after clearing the whole of Oakura Bay, 3 miles out past Henry Island, inland Whangaruru Harbour and further south of Oakura Bay.

Yesterday police talked to locals in the area, and a private boat owner who had been on the water told police they had not seen anyone or any debris.

"No body has reported anyone missing ... As far as our search goes we've probably suspended it for good at the moment as no further information has come through.

"We are confident there is no body in the water in the greater Oakura area where the dinghy and persons was initially seen."