Earlier this afternoon Oak Island Water Rescue, Oak Island Fire Department, Oak Island Police Department, and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol responded for a report of a person on a raft approximately 400 yards offshore, in the vicinity of the Oak Island Pier. The United States Coast Guard and NC Marine and Fisheries were also alerted as they often are on patrol in the area. We responded with our surf launch boat (4491) and our two 4×4 trucks (4481 and 4482).
Based on the dispatch information of it being an occupied float, Boat 4491 was quickly launched into the surf. We also deployed our drone to search from above as well as using binoculars from the shore.
The unoccupied float was recovered approximately 1200 yards offshore. Once recovered, Boat 4491 searched the area, running a NE wind line back to the shore. With the strong wind today, the location the float went adrift could’ve been as far away as the condominiums near McGlamery Street.
It was later learned from witnesses on the beach that the float was blowing down the beach with no persons on board. Since we did not have factual confirmation, from the location that the float entered the water, that it was an unoccupied float, we must treat them as unoccupied until a search has been completed.
We are thankful the beach access was open so we could drive directly into the beach. As we mentioned this morning, please leave the pool floats at home. There’s a fair chance we could get dispatched on another one of these today, as we have received multiple raft calls in a single day before.