A flood rescue has taken an unexpected twist when a woman was arrested after being rescued from her drifting boat at Port Stephens.

On Saturday, Marine Rescue and Water Police were alerted to a 3 metre tinny adrift off Tomaree Headland after the vessel ran into mechanical issues.

They rescued a 35-year-old Nelson Bay woman in driving rain and 25 knot south-westerlies who was not wearing a life jacket.

The unregistered boat was towed back to Shoal Bay Boat ramp where Police conducted a search of the vessel and the woman’s belongings, allegedly finding a quantity of the drug ICE and cannabis.

The woman is due to face Raymond Terrace Court on January 10 charged with two counts of drug possession, mastering an unregistered vessel and marine safety offences.