A MAN in his 60s has been rescued this evening at an unpatrolled beach just south of Narooma on the NSW Far South Coast.
The man found himself caught in a rip off Handkerchief Beach and struggled in the water.
His wife and son saw the incident unfold and called 000.
The son entered the surf on his surfboard and pulled him to safety.
Surf lifesavers from Narooma and the Westpac Life Saver 3 Rescue Helicopter were tasked by the Surf Life Saving State Operations Centre and were on scene within 10 minutes.
"A crewman was winched from the helicopter to assist in stabilising the patient while surf lifesavers assisted with first aid until police and ambulance crews arrived," Surf Life Saving duty officer Andrew Edmunds said.
"The male patient was then assessed on scene and transported to hospital after taking on some water as he was in the water for over 25 minutes.
"There were several rips running and conditions were not ideal for swimming."
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue 3 Helicopter arrived on the scene as the man was being brought to the beach, said Stephen Leahy of the Westpac rescue service.
Rescue crew officer Harley Dengate was winched down with a medical pack and he stabilised the patient using oxygen, he said.
Mr Edmunds said the response from volunteers and professional lifeguards, along with the Life Saver 3 helicopter crew, was fantastic.
"It is quite a remote beach south of Narooma. However if it had not had been for the man’s son pulling him to safety first it could have been a different outcome," he said.
"Today's incident highlights the perils of swimming at unpatrolled locations.
"Lifesavers and lifeguards are on patrol every day these holidays so people should take the effort to only swim between the flags."
Despite an exceptionally busy tourist season attributed to the fine weather and packed beaches, this was the first rescue or incident on a Narooma district beach.
For beach safety info and patrol locations visit www.beachsafe.org.au