Senior RNLI lifeguard Gordon Clark was patrolling busy Castlerock beach when at he noticed a person in the water waving for help a short distance to the right of the flagged zone on the beach around 5.30pm.
The family of six – including a man, woman and four children – were all on bodyboards when they got caught in what appeared to be a flash rip, a strong current running out to sea.
After radioing for assistance, Clark swiftly entered the sea with a rescue tube. He was quickly joined in the rescue operation by his RNLI lifeguard colleagues Jenny Thompson and Ray Cunningham.
Clark and Thompson proceeded to safely ferry the children, followed by their parents, to the shore, where they were checked over to ensure they hadn’t taken on any water. All were safe and well.
Speaking following the rescue, Mike Grocott, RNLI lifeguard manager for Northern Ireland, said: "Rip currents often catch people out because they can be difficult to spot, and research shows that most people don’t know how to identify one. They are a major cause of incidents that the RNLI’s lifeguards deal with each season.
"Anyone who gets caught in a rip should try to remain calm, raise their arm in the air to signal for help like the family member did today. If they feel they can swim, they should swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, and then head for shore."
With temperatures expected to soar this week, Grocott reminded people to be mindful of the RNLI’s key safety recommendations – choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark the safest area to swim and are an indicator that lifeguards are on duty.