The coastguard has warned of the dangers of rip currents after two off-duty lifeguards rescued a bodyboarder who had been struggling at sea for half an hour.
The male had got into difficulty in the water off Perran Sands beach in Cornwall on Saturday morning.
Lifeguards Charlie Florey and Ben Evans had been on their way to work at around 9.30am when they spotted him and leapt into action when he failed to raise his hand in response to their call through the PA system.
Mr Evans paddled out to find the bodyboarder “completely exhausted”, the RNLI said.
Mr Florey had called for an ambulance and the pair brought the casualty to the beach lifeguard unit to treat him for exhaustion and sickness from having swallowed a lot of water.
The bodyboarder, who the RNLI did not have any details for, was transferred into the care of paramedics when the ambulance service arrived.
The lifeguards have been praised for their “vigilance” and quick reaction.
Lifeguard supervisor Drustan Ward said: “Time was of the essence as the casualty had been in difficulty in the rip current for approximately half an hour and was in need of help urgently. We would like to wish him a speedy recovery following his ordeal.”
Mr Ward warned that rip currents such as that on Saturday can be hard to spot, but can sometimes be identified by “a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface”.
He added: “Even the most experienced beachgoers and swimmers can be caught out by rips so we would advise if you do get caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it or you will get exhausted.
“If you can stand, wade and don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. If you can, always raise your hand and shout for help.”
Anyone who sees a person who might be in trouble in the water is advised to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
The RNLI advised that people intending to go into the water visit patrolled lifeguarded beaches and stay between the red and yellow flags.