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.