The water rescue unit found the men stuck on a mud bank
Two men had to be rescued from the River Mersey after their canoe capsized in a tidal surge.
The pair set off in a "Canadian-style canoe" from Fiddler's Ferry at Warrington, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said.
Passers-by saw the canoe capsize and a boat rescue crew was mobilised.
The crew found the men stuck on a mud bank inland. One was suffering from hypothermia and was not wearing a life jacket, the fire service said.
Crews carried the men to a waiting ambulance at a nearby yacht club.
Gus O'Rourke, of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "On this occasion, these canoeists were extremely lucky.
"I personally was amazed at the force of the tide as it came through the estuary. It was bringing with it a huge amount of debris which could have contributed to the capsizing of the vessel and also could have hampered the rescue.
"These men were unprepared for such a force of water and the outcome could have been much more serious."
Mr O'Rourke issued a warning about going out on open water without the correct training or equipment.