There have been dramatic scenes at a marina on the New South Wales mid-north coast after a fishing trawler caught fire and then rammed into other boats.

Firefighters say the blaze, which police believe was deliberately lit, broke out on the boat at the Coffs Harbour Fishermen's Co-operative wharf around 12:15am.

While they were fighting the blaze, the 40m boat's engine suddenly started and it ran into others around the marina.

The burning boat also collided with a yacht that later sank.

Inspector Paul Johnston from Fire and Rescue New South Wales says two nearby boats were damaged, one extensively.

"A very unusual and weird scene to see this boat on fire motoring through the marina, especially as we always try - whether it's building fires or the unusual boat fire - to contain it to the boat of origin," Inspector Johnston said.

"So to have a boat on fire travelling through a marina would have caused great concern to fire crews there."

Authorities have put the fire out and say they did not find anyone on the trawler.

Coffs Harbour Water Police co-ordinator Sergeant Don Stewart says police are now investigating the cause of the blaze, which is estimated to have caused around $500,000 damage.

"At this stage all we know is a long-line fishing boat that was moored in Coffs Harbour caught fire," Sergeant Stewart said.

"It then ran into a yacht that was moored near the office for the marina then drifted across into other moored trawlers."

Sergeant Stewart says the fire is being treated as suspicious at this stage.

"I believe the long-liner was from Queensland, the yacht had recently been purchased and was en route to Tweed Heads," he said.

Sergeant Stewart says crews from both boats where on shore at the time of the fire.

 

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