FAIRFIELD — Three college students who lost control of their rowboat Monday afternoon had to be rescued by firefighters as brisk winds and the outgoing tide propelled the vessel farther from shore.

The three female students — who did not have life jackets, according to the report — were unharmed after the Fire Department’s boat, Marine 288, located them about a mile and a half from the Fairfield channel.

The students contacted 9-1-1 by cellphone about 4 p.m. Monday to report they were unable to paddle their rowboat back to shore in rough seas caused by the afternoon’s wind and tidal currents.

Fire and police units were dispatched to the South Benson Marina, where the Marine 288 boat was launched. The students’ boat could not immediately be located, and Bridgeport units were contacted for assistance.

However, by maintaining communication with the students via cellphone and identifying landmarks to guide the search, Marine 288 was able to locate the students shortly before 5 p.m. and take them aboard safely. The students were returned to shore, where after being evaluated by ambulance personnel, they refused additional medical attention.

“The three girls were extremely lucky that they called for assistance when they did, and that crews were able to locate them given the windy conditions and outgoing tide that pushed them offshore,” Assistant Fire Chief Scott Bisson said in a statement issued after the incident. “This should serve as a reminder to everyone that conditions on Long Island Sound can change very rapidly, and they should always have personal floatation devices on board their vessels in the event of an emergency.”