Declan O'Connor found himself holding on for life as the high winds swept him further into the Atlantic Ocean, the unicorn's head and horn serving as a stand-in sail
Luckily for the boy, a team of rescuers were quickly on scene and retrieved him. Local Rescue Chief Tony Young credited the boy's decision to stick with the unicorn – a wise move, or else he might have drowned
The boy and the unicorn were originally stationed on the sand before a strong wave pulled them into the water. By the time his father jumped in to rescue him, the boy floated almost half a mile beyond the shoreline.
Members of the Oak Island volunteer rescue team sent a boat out less than 15 minutes after O'Connor's parents, who were visiting from Ohio, called them. The team gave him a life jacket and helmet, and he was reunited with his family as another volunteer dragged the unicorn to the shore.
The team rescued around six oversized pool floats last year, Young told CNN. They're typically about six feet tall and eight feet wide, enough to fit a couple of kids. And while they are often sold at beach stores, floats are labeled warning against their use in open water