The perfect summer day probably consists of laying on the beach or pool, listening to some music with a cold brew. Or maybe it’s taking your kids out on the water for the first time for some fun. Before you do that, be sure to check the weather.


Tara Myers learned that lesson quickly when fun with her son Brennan turned into a rescue mission. Wanting to use her new inflatable swan float, the Florida mom thought it would be cool to take her 7-year-old out on the Gulf of Mexico for some relaxation. “We are a nautical family,” Myers explained. “We spend time on the water all the time.” This trip ended up being one she’ll never forget.


After getting to Anna Maria Island, the mother-son duo headed straight to the water for their adventure and it moved quicker than expected. While the weather appeared to be calm with no wind or waves, the current had carried them several miles offshore. “I was not sure if we were going to keep drifting because land just kept getting farther and farther and farther away,” Tara explained. her next steps were going to be imperative to her and her son’s safety.


She quickly started to take on the current, swimming with the swan and paddling as far as she could. With the current being stronger than she expected, her mission failed as she grew weary and fearful that no one would spot them.”You feel very small and can’t be heard or seen. Totally invisible,” Myers said. Luckily, things started to turn around.


Some beachgoers spotted the floating swan and immediately called 911. It wasn’t long before Tara and Brennan saw the West Manatee Fire Rescue boat coming to their rescue and she bust out in tears. “I literally just laid down on that swan float and cried,” Myers remembers of the October incident.  “So hard because this could have ended so much worse, and I didn’t want him to know that I was that scared.”


These toys have become popular but there are still many dangers that come with them, especially for children. Research done by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute found that enclosed pool toys to be dangerous. These toys tend to flip easily, putting children at risk or can cause drowning, especially if the children were launched into deep water. Myers hopes her story sends red flags to parents all over, warning them about putting a large raft onto a big body of water.


Grateful that their lives were saved, Myers knew there was one more thing she had to do: say goodbye to the swan. She poked a hole in it and gave it to one of the firefighters, who threw it in a nearby dumpster.