Loner died at sea in big tide

Northland man Earle Raison died as he lived – alone while battling a stormy sea.

Raison drowned in August 2010 as he tried to row his dinghy to his yacht in the Bay of Islands, coroner Deborah Marshall has found.

His dinghy was upturned in poor weather off Russell. His body was found on Tangitu Beach two weeks later.

In the years before his death, the 48-year-old sickness beneficiary and self-described loner chose the life of a hermit, living aboard the 32-foot yacht Azamyth, moored off Russell's Matauwhi Bay.

His dinghy was the smallest in the bay, a friend of Raison's told the coroner.

Ronald Earle Raison had a long battle with bipolar disorder and was known to Northland District Health Board mental health services where he was subject to a compulsory community treatment order.

He had a history of alcohol and drug use, but in the months prior to his death, Raison seemed to be turning his life around. He had limited his cannabis use and stopped taking other illicit drugs.

Raison was last seen by a friend from the Russell Boating Club who he had shared a cask of wine with the night he disappeared.

That night there was a big tide with a strong wind, the coroner was told.

Both alcohol and cannabis compound THC were found in his system. The coroner found the extent of Raison's intoxication unknown due to the decomposition of his body.

The coroner, who extended her condolences to Raison's family, made no recommendations.

Fairfax Media