Three men clung to a chilly bin after their boat sank off the coast of Whangaparoa, north of Auckland.
Their four-metre tinnie sunk just after 8am on Saturday and the men were plucked out of the water about 6km north of Big Manly Beach.
Police, Coastguard and the Westpac rescue helicopter were alerted to their plight after one of the victims rang his wife.
All three men were wearing lifejackets and clung to debris after the tinnie sank, including a chilly bin.
It was unclear why the boat sank.