A TURTLE named Earl is lucky to be alive after lifeguard Kasey Andrews made believe it was a person to get to shore.
Mrs Andrews was guiding a Tannum Beach Paddles stand-up paddleboard class when she saw a buoy and fin in Wild Cattle Creek, near Gladstone.
"Suddenly a turtle came up gasping for air and I realized it was tangled in a crab pot," she said.
"Gina and I eventually untangled the rope. The poor guy was exhausted and he had a damaged flipper."
She said they knew the turtle needed help but weren't sure how to get it out of the water.
"We initially didn't know how to do it," she said.
"Then I thought, if I pretend he is a person I could do a board rescue and paddle him."
Mrs Andrews performed a life-saving board rescue technique, hoisting Earl onto her board and paddling to shore.
"I got him in and fellow lifeguards met us," she said. "It took five of us to lift him into the back of the ute."
Mrs Andrews said Earl was so exhausted from the ordeal he didn't move at all.
"We covered him in towels and drove him to the Quoin Island Turtle Rehab Centre," she said.
Ms Andrews said at first they wanted to name him Crusher, but the name was already taken, so they called him Earl.
Ms Andrews said she was excited about Earl's recovery and the day when she could see him released into the wild.
If you see a sick or injured turtle, call 1300 ANIMAL or QITRC on 0408 431 304.