A British tourist penned his last words after he found himself floating in New York Harbour on a makeshift dock.

19-year-old London man Armaan Raj Munglani was staying at an apartment in New Jersey when he decided to go sightseeing at around 2.30am on Thursday, with plans to watch the sunrise at Battery Park.

On his way, he stopped off at Newport Yacht Club and Marina in Jersey City, where he stepped onto a makeshift dock tied to the marina, the New York Post reported.

"As soon as I got on it, the rope that actually tied it to the dock just came off. So now I am stuck on this piece of wood and I have no idea what I'm going to do," he told the Post.


He fought strong currents as the 2.5 metre piece of plywood was taken out onto the Hudson River.

"There are big barges, big cruise ships ... I start seeing them and I'm just like, I'm dead meat."

Munglani was unable to use his phone to call for help as it had stopped working after he dropped his wallet in the water earlier. He was so frightened that he began to desperately write down his last messages to friends and family in a small notebook.

"Fortunately I tore up the paper now. You don't want anyone reading that stuff while you are still alive," he said.

After he had struggled to stay afloat for over two hours, his phone began working again and he was able to call emergency services.

Within ten minutes of his call, he was rescued at about 5am by two FDNY (Fire Department of New York) rescue boats.

Munglani was discovered in waters close to Governors Island in New York Harbour - a long distance from Jersey City and right in the middle of Staten Island ferry traffic.

"I was as happy as a kid in a candy store. I was screaming and shouting out. I was so happy I think I had tears in my eyes," he said.

Captain Louis Guzzo, commander of the FDNY's Marine Company 6, said it was "miraculous" that Munglani had survived his ordeal and he was lucky to be alive.

"It was pretty amazing when we realised he was out there for that long and survived. It could have been really bad," he said.

- nzherald.co.nz