A grandfather is recovering in hospital after a boating incident in the Coromandel which police say could have been fatal.
The man, in his 50s, freed his two trapped grandchildren after their boat capsized near the entrance of Tairua Harbour on Monday afternoon.
The fibreglass runabout foundered on a sandbar, throwing the five people on board, including the children's parents, into the water.
Police say the children, aged two and six, were within a minute of drowning.
They say no one on board was wearing life jackets, and conditions at the time were bad for boating.
Police are urging boaties to remember the importance of safety gear and checking conditions before heading out.