A 10-metre trawler was ‘‘five minutes from sinking’’ in Wollongong Harbour on Thursday night before firefighters came to the rescue.
Four fire units were called to the harbour after reports of a boat sinking about 7.30pm.
A Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said a small rust hole had resulted in the boat taking on water.
It was tied to a second boat in the care of Wollongong Yacht Club.
Club captain Chris Tulloch called emergency services when he realised what was happening.
He said if the first boat had sunk, it would have pulled the yacht under with it.
‘‘I estimate it was about five minutes from sinking,’’ he said.
Fire and Rescue personnel were able to plug the hole using a type of adhesive resin and used a portable pump to remove the water from inside the hull.