Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan found the couple near one of the Aran Islands, around 20 miles from where they were last seen.
Cousins Ellen Glynn, 17, and Sara Feeney, 23, had paddleboarded off Furbo Beach, near Galway City, around 9 p.m. Wednesday night,
After a strong northeast wind pushed them out to sea and a family member watching them lost sight of them, rescue services were called in, according to Mike Swan, the operations manager of the Galway RNLI.
Swan told CNN that the crew of his rescue boat had to be changed three times overnight as they continued their search.
They were assisted in the search and rescue operation by other nearby lifeboats and three Coast Guard rescue helicopters, the lifeboat service said in a statement.
The Olivers joined the search on Thursday morning, eventually finding the paddleboarders about two miles southwest of Inis Oírr, the statement added.
The women had been hanging on the lobster traps for four or five hours at this point, Swan said.
Speaking after her rescue, Glynn told national television station RTÉ: “We were absolutely sure we were going to be found. The only thing that worried me was how cold we were – we were shaking like leaves. ”
The cousins were taken to hospital after their ordeal. Feeney was released Thursday night and Glynn should be able to return home on Saturday morning, RTÉ reported.
Describing when his team learned the couple had been saved, Swan told CNN, “We were on cloud nine. It’s the best feeling ever because the whole resort was involved. ”
He added that Patrick Oliver, who found the paddleboarders, and three of his brothers were all volunteers for the RNLI.
“It’s in their blood. ” he said.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin was among those who praised the rescue services for their work.
“Wonderful news in Galway today highlighting the exceptional work of our relief and volunteer services. Great community spirit shown by all, ”he tweeted.