EIGHT minutes is all it took for Culburra surf lifesavers Josh and Mitchel Pakes to go from whatever they were doing to having a rescue boat in the river searching for people in the water at Crookhaven Head.
At 1.40pm on Monday, August 24 the Surf Emergency Response System was activated to respond to an overturned boat at the mouth of the Crookhaven River.
Information was received that Shoalhaven Marine Rescue was having engine trouble.
The wind was gusting from the west at about 80km/h, producing large waves and challenging sea conditions.
The Nowra-Culburra SLSC IRB was launched and headed to the mouth of the river.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was also tasked to the scene.
Upon the IRB’s arrival, Shoalhaven Marine Rescue had rescued one man from the water.
Both rescue vessels headed back to the boat ramp.
It was believed that there were two people on board the upturned vessel and that the rescued man had lost sight of his female companion when the boat sunk.
The Nowra-Culburra IRB responded back to the river and began a search pattern around the break wall and rocky edges.
A lifejacket and a portable coller were retrieved, but the woman remained missing.
After 10 minutes it was confirmed by police that the woman was safe on land.
The rescue has been given the SLSNSW Rescue of the Month award.
The award aims to recognise excellence in lifesaving.
Monthly winners become finalists for the SLSNSW Rescue of the Year which is presented at the annual awards of excellence.