TWO paddleboarders swept out to sea off Currarong on Monday morning can thank a mobile phone for their survival.
The alarm was raised with emergency services just after midday on February 15, when the two female paddleboarders, both aged 22, were reported to be two to three kilometres off Currarong, caught in the southerly conditions that were prevailing at the time.
A jetski from Nowra-Culburra Surf Lifesaving Club found the pair, who were both wearing lifejackets, four kilometres out to sea off Culburra.
South Coast Branch Surf Lifesaving (NSW) president Steve Jones said the two paddleboarders were "extremely lucky".
"They were very lucky one of them had a mobile phone in a waterproof bag and were able to raise the alarm," he said.
"The way they were travelling they could easily have ended up 10km off Kiama."
Mr Jones said the pair were paddleboarding in and around the protected surf area of Currarong when they ventured a bit too far out and got caught in the strong southerly conditions.
"Surf Lifesaving Surf Com activated the South Coast Surf Lifesaving's jetski out of the Nowra-Culburra Club and Joshua Pakes took the craft out for the rescue," Mr Jones said.
"He found the two paddleboarders about four kilometres off Culburra Beach.
"He was able to rescue the pair, put them on the jetski and bring them back to shore unharmed."
Mr Pakes said the conditions proved testing.
"The swell was 1.5m to 2.5m with with a heavy south-west wind chop making conditions very hard," he said.
"Luckily I had just driven back into Culburra when I got the notification and went straight to the beach.
"I was able to launch the ski with the help of my father [Col] and was in the water within five minutes of the initial call.
"I began the search which was very difficult in the conditions then Toll NSW Ambulance Rescue Helicopter [Chopper 207] flew overhead to locate the two girls approximately three to four kilometres out to sea."
Unfortunately, he didn't have the capability to tow the two paddleboards, so they were left out at sea.
The Toll NSW Ambulance Rescue Helicopter was also tasked to the area and maintained a visual on the rescue until they had all made it safely back to land.
The women were uninjured but were treated by NSW Ambulance for cold.
"They were just a little cold and scared," Mr Pakes said.
"It was good to see that both were wearing lifejackets."
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