Two men had a lucky escape after their boat capsized off Bermagui and they spent an hour in the ocean clinging to their vessel before they were rescued.
"It was life-threatening, it was as serious as it can possibly get as far as falling into the water and clinging to the vessel as it sinks goes," NSW Marine Rescue operations manager for Monaro region Glenn Sullivan said.
"If they were in there any longer they would not have been clinging to the boat."
He said on the afternoon of Thursday, November 28 Marine Rescue received a call for assistance from a vessel with no identification or details other than it was taking on water and sinking.
In an operation involving about 15 people from Marine Rescue, Surf Life Saving and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter the two men on the boat were found in a dire situation, holding onto the vessel as it sank.
The master of the boat - a tourist from Victoria staying at a local caravan park - and his companion were rescued and taken to the Bermagui Harbour where they were assessed by NSW Ambulance staff and given the all-clear.
Speaking to Australian Community Media about 2.30pm, Mr Sullivan said the rescue services were attempting to pull the 17-foot boat upright so they could retrieve it.
"Now the vessel is almost totally submerged and only about a foot of it is above water," he said.
It was still unknown what caused the boat to capsize, he said, but the men on board only had a short time between when water started to enter the vessel and it sank and rolled over.
He said the location was in a previously-known blackspot, about four nautical miles south of Bermagui's Blue Pool and one-and-a-half miles offshore, but recent upgrades to towers on Doctor George Mountain and the Bermagui Water Tower allowed them to overcome the blindspot.
Director of Lifesaving for the Far South Coast branch Cheryl McCarthy said the operation went smoothly and the only challenge was they did not have the exact location when the teams first hit the water.
She said teams drove around Bermagui trying different vantage points - "the smoke haze wasn't doing us any favours" - and first spotted the two men from the land before alerting the helicopter to their location.
"It's another example of a great combined agency response," she said.
Mr Sullivan commended the two men for wearing life jackets and having a VHF marine radio on which they used channel 16 to alert authorities to their situation.
He said if boaters ever found themselves in a dangerous situation they should make the call to contact Marine Rescue as early as possible.