Kelsey Jackson shared clips on TikTok documenting her rescue.
She explained how excited she was to use her “cute” giant inflatable, noting that she spent a few hundred dollars on the beach toy.
While she was floating off the coast of Fort Morgan Beach, a strong current pulled her two miles out to sea.
She said a huge rescue operation was mounted to bring her back to shore.
“So excited to use the $265 float on the beach. Look how cute. Until the undertow pulled us almost 2 miles from the shore. Helicopters, coast guard, and good Samaritans came to our rescue,” Ms Jackson said.
Social media users commented on the video, asking why she did not jump off her float and try swimming to shore.
“We did consider it, and almost jumped out several times in the beginning before we got pulled so far out,” she said.
She then explained why she did not.
“But really there’s two reasons why we decided not to; the first one being how fast we got pulled out, made us wonder would we even be able to swim in. Or was whatever was pulling us out affect our ability to swim in, safely. We’re good swimmers but we were genuinely afraid of drowning,” she said.
The other reason was perhaps more terrifying than the prospect of drowning.
“Second of all there was fish jumping in and out of the water all around us, that made us think there were sharks. Then helicopters started swarming and it kept dipping down and blowing up water. They later told us it was because they saw sharks circling our float,” she said.
According to Ms Jackson, the Coast Guard agreed with her decision to stay on the float.
“Ultimately the coastguard said we made the right decision to stay in the float. Two people had actually drowned the week before trying to swim in that water,” she said. “They say if we had jumped out and tried to swim it would have been a recovery not a rescue.”
Since the incident occurred, volunteer firefighters in the area have issued warnings to beach goers about the riptides that can pull people miles in the course of minutes. Michael Ludvigsen, a volunteer with the department, explained the danger of the rip currents.
“It’s not something people can see, so they don’t notice it. And people that aren’t from here aren’t aware of it,” he explained to NBC 15 News.
Since 2002, rip currents have killed 172 people off the coasts of beaches from Mobile to Tallahassee.
“If you don’t know the water, if you don’t know your surroundings, you need to be extra cautious. When our lights are flashing that there’s rip currents, stay out of the water. It’s just safer that way,” Mr Ludvigsen said.