A man in a toy dinghy was rescued one mile off the coast of Redcar in northern England by a sea rescue charity.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution said the man could have drifted much further into the sea and risked his life.
Lifeguards found the man as he attempted to paddle against the wind and tidal currents.
RNLI Redcar lifeboats operations manager, Dave Cocks, said: "People really need to learn to respect the water, and the incident last night shows that really some people don't fully appreciate the predicament that they could be in.
"When the lifeboat arrived last night the crew asked him why he was there as you heard on the video, and quite honestly he thought he was having a great time and was going to be fine.
"But in fact the worst case that could have happened was he'd have been tipped out in the dinghy and he'd have been trying to swim a mile against tide and currents, it would have been an impossible task and it could easily have led to being a fatality."