Last Sunday morning, my 10-year-old daughter Emmie and her friend sailed out to sea on inflatable fruit.
Her friend's mum and I were chatting on the beach while our daughters played on oversized floaties I’d picked up from Kmart. Cheap and cute, there was a huge pineapple and a bright watermelon, and the girls were floating on them in the crystal clear water off one of Magnetic Island’s beautiful bays.
I didn’t realise that I’d just placed them into danger.
Watch: What to do if you're caught in a rip. Post continues below.
I thought I’d brought them something fun to play on, and had no idea these floats should only be used in pools. On beaches, bays or open water they catch the wind and can be easily, and rapidly, swept out to sea – with our kids, friends or loved ones on them. And that’s exactly what happened.
A few minutes after the girls had entered the water we heard them yelling to us, but while they seemed a little far away they were still in the bay, and it was pretty shallow. We didn’t worry.
“Oh they’re fine,” we rolled our eyes at each other.