Three snorkellers were towed back to shore from Rabbit Island after life guards became concerned about their safety in the big swell.
''They were pretty lucky that the life guards were able to give them a lift back,'' said Mt Maunganui Surf Club general manager Glenn Bradley.
He said it would have been a pretty tricky situation if the snorkellers had not been helped.
They were not wearing wetsuits and were not well equipped for the conditions.
''It was not the conditions to be doing this - there was a decent-sized swell running.''
The club's board squad was out training about 6pm yesterday when they were alerted to the snorkellers.
In another incident yesterday, police were called to reports that two girls were in trouble in the surf near Surf Rd, Omanu.
Police said the girls were rescued without injury and taken to Tauranga Hospital.
The 5pm rescue did not appear to involve surf lifesavers.
Omanu Surf Club life guard Donal Boyle said surfers had a field day in the pumping surf but he advised swimmers to stay out of the water until the sea had settled down.
''If you are not a strong swimmer, stay out of the water.''