OAK ISLAND — As innocuous as they seem, inflatable floats can actually pose a risk to children on seemingly calm beach days.
That’s according to Oak Island Water Rescue, which recently shared safety tips after an 8-year-old boy on a unicorn raft drifted beyond the shoreline and into deep water Monday, around 12:40 p.m.
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The young boy was being adequately supervised, according to Oak Island Water Rescue, and drifted an estimated quarter-to-half-mile offshore after a brief but strong gust of wind.
“Once it was out past the waves, the big float acted like a sail and the unicorn float kept going away from the beach,” Oak Island Water Rescue posted on Facebook Monday.
At least one person attempted to swim toward the boy to rescue him. Oak Island Water Rescue warned this well-intended action could have resulted in an exhausted swimmer drowning.
Children on the beach could benefit from wearing personal floatation devices on the beach, but Oak Island Water Rescue recognized there are differing opinions on this practice.
Oak Island Water Rescue shared that the young boy did a great job at remaining calm and in the unicorn float.
“When Boat 4491 reached him, he told the crew not to pop the unicorn float or they would get in trouble,” the rescue team shared on Facebook.