Off-duty fireman Nigel is hailed a hero for rescue after saving drowning kayaker
Nigel Snowshall, 42, who is also in charge of volunteers for Exmouth Beach Rescue, was paddle-boarding with his teenage daughter and her friend when his skills were put to the test.
Mr Snowshall was alerted to the 56-year-old man 500 metres off Budleigh Salterton.
He realised the man, who has not been named, was in the sea when his kayak overturned and paddled out to pluck him to safety and return him to his worried wife on the shingle.
"The man was in shock and hypothermic when I got to him," said Mr Snowshall, a watch commander at Exmouth fire station.
"He was exhausted and was beginning to turn blue with cold. He could easily have drowned.
"The man had been fishing in his kayak, but it capsized and he couldn't get back in. He lost his fishing rod and paddle.
"When I got to him he'd been in the water for about 45 minutes. I chaperoned him back in his kayak."
He added: "Back on shore my 14-year-old daughter Emily and her friend Emily Western helped wrap him in towels and get him warm.
"They even put his kayak back on the roof of his car. He was treated by an ambulance crew and taken to Exmouth Hospital suffering from hypothermia."
He was later discharged from hospital, non the worse for his ordeal.
"Conditions were very choppy," said Mr Snowshall. "He was such a long way out that I couldn't see him at first.
"He's very lucky to be alive. His legs were numb. Afterwards he couldn't thank me enough. But luckily this is the sort of thing I do as a member of the beach rescue. It was a good job we spent the day at Budleigh."
Mr Snowshall praised his daughter — also a member of the beach rescue — and her friend for their efforts in helping to comfort the man when he was brought ashore, saying beach rescue training had paid dividends once again.
The Exmouth RNLI inshore rescue boat was also called to the scene and Mr Snowshall paddled lifeboatman Kerry Wreford who was transferred from the inflatable to the beach to help the casualty.