It was a fishing trip gone wrong.
A freak wave caused a boat to capsize, throwing a man and woman into the sea off Windang Beach, about 1.45pm on Friday.
After capsizing, the couple held on to the boat, before the woman managed to put on a life jacket and attempted to swim to shore.
A surfer plucked the woman, 49, to safety after she ran into trouble trying to swim against the current.
The water police were able to rescue the man, 56, and also brought him to shore where paramedics were waiting.
Illawarra district NSW Ambulance inspector Terry Morrow said the man and woman were suffering from exposure after being in the water for about 45 minutes.
‘‘They were out fishing for a short period of time, decided to come back in, and on the way back in a rogue wave came in,’’ he said.
‘‘They didn’t see it coming until it actually hit the boat, capsizing the boat and throwing them out.
‘‘They held onto the boat for a period of time thinking it may take them to the shore however this didn’t occur.’’
The boat was due to be retrieved on Friday afternoon.
The man and woman are believed to have been from the Illawarra.
Insp Morrow commended the emergency services involved in the rescue.
‘‘It was a good result for the water police... [a] good result for the patients and for us,’’ he said.
The couple were taken to Shellharbour Hospital for observation.