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Oak Island provides additional details about recent rescue

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Paddleboarders rescued offshore of Oak Island (Photo: Town of Oak Island)

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — Crews from multiple agencies were called to the Oak Island beach access location at Barbee Boulevard in response to stranded paddleboarders on Wednesday, June 19 around 3:30 p.m.

Within three minutes, crews located two people on a single paddleboard approximately 2,000 feet from shore.

The drone unit was deployed and able to communicate with the paddleboarders.

Officials said they were not in distress, but were unable to return to shore due to strong winds and currents.

Oak Island Water Rescue Unit 4491 was launched from the beach at SE 49th Street and was able to retrieve the paddleboarders, with on-water assistance provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Ocean Rescue Unit PWC on standby at Barbee Boulevard.

Officials said the entire response lasted 20 minutes, with the two paddleboarders being safely returned to a parent who was waiting onshore.

On Wednesday, WWAY spoke with Oak Island Water Rescue about their recommendation against bringing floaties and boards to the beach.

Oak Island Water Rescue said while the response provided a swift and positive outcome, it stresses key reminders for beach and ocean safety:

  • Conditions Awareness. Although much of the day was under a Green Flag, this does not mean strong currents cannot occur. East to West longshore currents and offshore winds were still present. As noted earlier in the day by the OIWR, these conditions made it more likely for equipment such as a paddleboard or other inflatables / rafts to be swept out from shore. Before using such items, it is important to check these conditions, which are available on the Beach Safety page of the Town Website at www.OakIslandNC.gov/SAFETY.
  • PFDs / Life Jackets. Regardless of your swimming ability, wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or Life Jacket can be a life-saving action for any open water activity. These should NOT be confused with rafts or inflatables, which are toys and do not offer the same level of protections. For more information on their differences, click the Life Jackets & Floatation Devices tab at www.OakIslandNC.gov/SAFETY.
  • Remaining Calm. One of the factors that helped ensure a swift and positive outcome was the paddleboarders remaining calm and following directions of the responders. Any emergency can quickly turn tragic when met with panic; and remaining calm is not always easy to do in stressful situations. For information on HOW to remain calm when facing an emergency, view the all new “’DON’T PANIC!’ … BUT HOW?” article posted at the bottom of the Beach Safety page at www.OakIslandNC.gov/SAFETY.



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