Two teenagers have been nationally recognised for saving a 13-year-old boy who was swept out to sea in Goolwa.
Rhys Highett and Marcus Morgan (pictured above) received the Surf Life Saving National Rescue Medal on Monday at Canberra's Parliament House.
The 15-year-olds were off-duty from their West Beach club roles on a 41 degree day on January 24 when they were flagged them down for help.
Using their surf lifesaving training, the pair undertook their first rescue, swimming together to reach the boy who was 400-500 metres from shore.
They managed to tow him back in without rescue equipment and swam close to 1km overall to get the boy back to shore.
Surf Life Saving Australia President and Brighton SLSC Life Member John Baker ESM said that without their swift action and skill, the young boy would certainly have tragically drowned.
"The prompt action and skill that Marcus and Rhys displayed to save that young boy, only two years younger than themselves, was well beyond their years and a testament to their bravery and training," Baker ESM said.
The boys started in surf lifesaving as 6-year-old Nippers and said that their ability to swim, read the ocean and be comfortable in the water was what made the rescue feel like second nature.
"It's a bit scary to think that a boy not much younger than us was in such a serious situation but the skills we learnt just clicked in, we both know how to swim really well and we went out there and just knew what do," Rhys said.
"I didn’t think we were going to find him but then I spotted him first and he was yelling but his face was nearly underwater. He kept saying to us that he was going to die, and we just said ‘no you’re not you’re going to be alright, we’ve got you," Marcus said.
Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Rescue Medal is a national initiative that recognises the courageous and outstanding achievements surf lifesavers and members perform on coastal waterways every day.
Photo of Rhys Highett and Marcus Morgan at Parliament House, supplied by Surf Life Saving SA