Josh Lillas came back to Whakatāne to spend Father's Day out on the water with his dad Scott but a "hitchhiking" seal put paid to the belief two is company and three's a crowd.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, the seal is first seen after hauling itself onto a platform at the back of the boat.

"I was eating an orange and was throwing my peels into the water which seemed to interest him," Lillas said. "He wasn't eating them, he just followed them to the back of the boat then climbed on board.

Josh Lillas and
Josh Lillas and "Orange" the seal. Photo / Supplied

Fishing quite a way past Moutohora (Whale Island), Lillas said they had seen another seal at a prior fishing spot about 10 kms away but it was significantly bigger than the seal that had boarded their boat.

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"I think he was knackered and looking for a place to rest," Lillas said.

In the video the seal can be seen nudging its way past Lillas to get further into the boat, resting on one of the seats and then sleeping on top of a pile of life jackets.

The seal spent a couple of hours on the craft. Photo / Supplied
The seal spent a couple of hours on the craft. Photo / Supplied

"He was with us for a couple of hours and slept most of the time."

Lillas said the fishing wasn't that great but admitted once the seal made an appearance, most of the day's focus was on it and not the fish.

"It was pretty cool having him there."

Before heading back to land, Lillas woke the seal when the boat was close to Moutohora and other seals were visible.

In the video he attempts to wake the seal he nicknamed Orange, and tells him he has found him a girlfriend to keep him company. The seal is then wrapped in a towel before being put gently back in the water.

The last sighting of Orange was as he happily swam away from the boat.

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Lillas said he had been surprised at how many times the video had been viewed but was happy people were enjoying it.