Three people on a giant inflatable duck had to be rescued after it drifted out to sea.
Eyewitnesses reported how the men pumped up the duck, nicknamed Quackers, at Westward Ho! beach in Devon and took it out to sea along with a friend on an inflatable kayak.
After five minutes, they had drifted out about 75 metres from the beach and the friend in the kayak was unsuccessfully trying to push them back to shore.
The Coastguard was called when Quackers was 200 metres off shore.
A member of the public went out to the duck on a paddleboard to try to bring the men back to shore. He managed to tow Quackers closer to the beach, with the men able to jump out and swim to safety.
Quackers was immediately blown back out to sea.
Volunteers from Appledore RNLI were out in their inshore and all-weather lifeboats on their usual Tuesday night training exercise when they were tasked by the Coastguard to assist the men in the duck.
The inshore lifeboat arrived as the men made it back to shore safely, with crew member Del Elsemore swimming in to check on them.
Mr Elsemore said: “The quick thinking of this member of the public with a paddleboard prevented a nasty situation turning much worse. He was the real lifesaver of the day.”
The lifeboats returned to their exercise after the incident on June 6, complete with Quackers on board.
A spokeswoman for the RNLI charity said: “With the strong tides and off-shore breezes of the Bristol Channel, Appledore RNLI urges people never to take an inflatable toy into the sea.
“There is no way to control these and they get pulled out from shore within seconds.
“If any member of the public sees someone getting into difficulty in the water, please, as this eyewitness did, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”