A MAN was found clinging to rocks by a lifeboat crew after he tried to swim around Mumbles lighthouse island.
He was pulled from the water "cold and tired" by members of the inshore crew.
They said had a member of the public not spotted him and raised the alarm he could well have lost his life.
The incident was one of several which made for a very busy weekend for lifeboat crews and coastguards on Gower. Yesterday a young girl was airlifted from Rhossili Beach with a damaged ankle.
The crew of volunteers on the Mumbles Lifeboat, made up of Andy Miles, Adam Evans and Dai Thomas, was scrambled at around 7.30pm on Friday evening after receiving a report that a man had been spotted clinging to rocks off the middle island. The man, who has not been named, is believed to have been a tourist.
A spokesman for Mumbles RNLI said: "We have had a few call outs because people have got stuck on the island but this is the first time we have had someone try to swim and get stuck in the water. Fortunately for him there was someone on the beach, near the pier, who saw him and called it in, if they hadn't then he would have been gone.
"It was a dangerous thing to do, especially at this time of year because we have a spring tide and the current runs at about four knots between the shore and the island.
"It may only look like a couple of hundred meters but you are swimming against the tide. He was lucky, another couple of hours and it would have been dark."
The RNLI crew were able to pull the swimmer into their rescue boat and although he was "very cold and tired" he was able to return to his hotel once transferred safely back to land.
Mumbles RNLI said it had been "the busiest weekend we have had this year".
The spokesman added: "It's so hot at the moment people go in the water and they don't realise how cold it is and they get into trouble.
"Our advice if you want to go for a swim would be to swim on a beach with a lifeguard, if there isn't one there, and you don't know the beach, then don't swim."
Completely staffed by volunteers and funded by donations, Mumbles RNLI launched a second time on the weekend following a distress call linked to the lighthouse island which fortunately turned out to be a false alarm.
"We thought that someone had become trapped on the island but it turned out they were there fishing," the spokesman explained.
Besides the RNLI the RAF helicopter was busy airlifting a six-year-old girl to Morriston hospital, from Rhossili beach, at around 3.45pm yesterday after she injured her ankle.
Elsewhere Mumbles RNLI launched its new Tamar lifeboat to tow a boat with engine trouble into harbour.