The 20-year-old tourist was brought to the NSRI Gordon's Bay base after being found floating 150m offshore in the surf by an NSRI rescue craft.
She has since been discharged from hospital.
NSRI Gordons Bay station commander Alan Meiklejohn said: “Waves swept her off the rocks in very rough sea conditions. She opted to swim further out to sea rather than try to get to shore on the rugged, rocky coastline, which may have battered her against the rocks. The decision to do this may have saved her life.”
He said an NSRI Gordons Bay duty crew and rescue vehicle, Western Cape Government Health EMS rescue squad and ambulance, the GB Med ambulance service, ER24 ambulance service, the Law Enforcement Marine Unit and SAPS had responded to the woman’s plight.
Elsewhere, in Port Alfred, two men were treated for injuries after their boat was swamped and it capsized while turning in a wave.
Three of the men had fallen into the water. One had been injured, another reached the pier and a third was rescued by the NSRI.
NSRI Port Alfred deputy station commander Stephen Slade said two of the men were treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms, scrapes and bruises and were transported by GuardMed ambulance in stable conditions to hospital.
Their craft beached on East Beach and was recovered with the help of a breakdown recovery service, added Slade.
Port Elizabeth NSRI station commander Ian Gray said sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft and JLK Rescuer rescued three crew whose 5.5m monohull craft had capsized.
Their craft was brought safely ashore.