Mount Maunganui surf life savers have been recognised for their swift actions in saving a seriously injured jet skier earlier this year.
Their efforts earned them first place in BP Rescue of the Month.
On March 8, the Mount Maunganui team was called to a man who was seriously injured while jet skiing at Matakana Island.
The man was in the water with suspected spinal and head injuries and was being supported by a group of jet skiers who were keeping him afloat.
The conditions were far from perfect; the surf was 1.5 metres, with a significant swell, 800m from the shore.
Surf Lifeguard Russell Reardon recorded key details and activated the Emergency Call Out Squad.
He and several other club members sprang into action, putting together an inflatable rescue boat, rescue watercraft, vehicles, and first aid gear.
Kent (KJ) Jarman and Daniel Shanahan took the jet ski and rescue sled to the scene.
Dani Shepherd made emergency calls and, together with Danny Hart and Laura Weston, took the rescue boat and first aid gear, linking up with an advanced paramedic, to the scene.
Jarman found the man and his helpers and joined them in the water to keep the man reassured.
When the rescue boat arrived with the paramedic, the man was put on a spinal board on the rescue sled and slowly transport to Panepane Point, the inner harbour part of Matakana Island.
Weston and Shanahan joined those already in the water, slowly placing the man on to the board, then gently moved him on to the rescue sled.
Once he was out of the water, the paramedic placed an IV in his arm and gave him pain relief.
Weston, a registered nurse, took control of the man's head and spine and monitored his level of consciousness and breathing.
They could not move faster than 5 knots - just over nine kilometres per hour - and took around 45 minutes to reach the shore, stopping several times to top up the pain relief.
They arrived safely inside the harbour entrance and the rescue helicopter team was waiting and took over. The man was taken to Tauranga Hospital with significant damage to his thoracic vertebrae which required surgery.
Feedback from the paramedics was that the cautious handling of the man by everyone involved ensured that the dangerous fractures didn't cause further damage.
Their efforts were recognised with the Surf Life Saving BP Rescue of the Month in March.
There are six awards each season and the winners of the six awards will become finalists for the BP Surf Rescue of the Year presented in September.