STORY: "More than 1,000 people are in danger," the coastguard said in a statement.
The president of the southern Calabria region, Roberto Occhiuto, said a total of around 1,300 migrants were aboard boats which the European Union's border force Frontex had warned could run into problems.
Video released by the coastguard showed a crowded boat at sea off the coast of Calabria. A coastguard boat approached the vehicle before rescue workers could be seen boarding the migrant boat.
In a separate incident earlier on Friday, the coastguard picked up almost 500 migrants close to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, local media reported.
Italy's migrant sea rescue capabilities have come under scrutiny following the Feb. 26 shipwreck off Calabria. The body of a young boy was recovered on Friday, bringing the death toll to 73, with many migrants still missing.