Coastguard Nelson president Wayne Harrison looks across at the submerged fishing boat. Photo: Supplied.

Fishermen pulled from sinking boat


It was stocked with all the right gear but nothing was going to stop a small Nelson boat from sinking.

Three men were out fishing on a small vessel just a mile from Nelson Harbour on Saturday when their boat started taking on water.

The boat then capsized and became submerged, leaving the three boaties floating in the water.

Coastguard Nelson president Wayne Harrison says the men had gone out for an early morning fish and were just setting up when one of the guys noticed that his feet were wet.

“The next thing he knew the boat was sinking, the back went down, a wave came in and it just went, it flipped them out and they were all in the water.”

Wayne says that despite having all the right equipment, including fitted life-jackets, flares, life rings, sufficient fuel, and two forms of communication, it happened so quickly that none of the men had time to raise the alarm.

The trio were in the water for 25 minutes before a passing boat picked them up, and brought them back to the Wakefield Quay wharf.

Fortunately, Coastguard Nelson were just getting ready for their Saturday morning training as the emergency call came in.

“We were standing in our training room and our duty officer Geoff Morgan came in and said ‘we’ve got a job’. We actually saw the boat bringing the guys in as the call was coming in.”

Several members went down to the wharf to meet the men and brought them back to the base to warm up while the rest of the team went out to find the boat.

“When we got to the boat, there wasn’t much of it sticking up out of the water,” says Wayne.

“We got a line onto the trailer hook, pulled it out of the water, righted it, pumped it out, collected all the debris and personal belonging floating in the sea, towed it all back in to the marina for them.”

All three fishermen were unharmed.