Napier Constable Mike Signal said police were called about 9am yesterday and a rescue mission involvng police, the Lowe Walker Rescue helicopter, Hawke's Bay Volunteer Coastguard and the Hawke's Bay Coastguard Air Patrol began.
Surf Hawke's Bay was also put on standby. Mr Signal said the two Napier men, aged 45 and 51, headed out on Saturday night to go craypotting at Pania Reef.
They were "grossly" under-prepared for what they planned to do, he said.
"The two men had been drinking before they left, headed out in a vessel that did not have any navigation lights, had only limited experience in boats, and had no lifejackets, flares or marine radio.
"They did not leave their intentions with anyone and did not check the weather forecast, which was not good for the area," he said.
The boat's motor had broken down and the duo were found about 10am with the anchor dragging on Pania Reef, "very cold and miserable".
They were towed back to shore.
The boat was their flatmate's and he had no idea they were in it until he woke in the morning to find it missing.
- NZ Herald, 12 January 2009