An afternoon fishing trip for two mates has ended in a major rescue operation off Shellharbour.
Leutrim Miftari and his mate grabbed fishing lines, lifejackets and their kayaks and launched off Bass Point near the Gravel Loader about 2pm. The winds and current quickly took them out.
"We noticed how far we were but thought little of it," he said.
By 3.55pm they were two kilometres offshore and a passing jetskier warned them about a looming thunderstorm. A few minutes later they decided to paddle back to shore.
"We start paddling back for 20 minutes and realised we were making no progress," Leutrim said.
Around 4.30pm one of their kayaks capsized after becoming waterlogged and they lost a lifejacket.
The two men drifted with the current and it wasn't until just after 5pm that off-duty lifesavers were alerted to two kayaks around 1.5 to two kilometres off Cowrie Island.
"It was extremely windy, very choppy. The surf wasn't overly big but the wind made it very messy," Shellharbour Surf Life Saving's Ryan Gaetani said of the Sunday, December 3, event.
He sped towards the fisherman on his jetski and, as he went to rescue them, the second jetski capsized.
"They definitely knew they were in s--t. Their plan was just to drift and see where they ended up," Mr Gaetani said.
"They were doing pretty well for someone who'd been in the water drifting for an hour."
Mr Gaetani said kayakers had initially called Marine Rescue NSW for help, but he said all emergencies should be reported to triple-0 for the fastest response time.