Naya Rivera Helped 4-Year-Old Son Get Onto Boat Before Slipping Underwater, Sheriff Says

Naya Rivera and son Josey
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While Naya Rivera and her son Josey were swimming in Lake Piru, their boat may have drifted away in high winds, according to investigators. When they managed to swim back to the pontoon, Rivera died a hero, helping her son onto the boat before slipping underwater.

"[Josey] told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a press conference Monday afternoon.

The heartbreaking tragedy is a reminder of how quickly things can go awry when out on the water. Inside Edition's Anne Mercogliano rented her own pontoon boat in Connecticut to share some important safety lessons.

To ensure everyone's safety, on board the boat is a licensed operator. Naya and her son were alone on that fateful day, and experts say that can make the difference between life and death.

Another important safety tip is to always wear a life vest. Josey was wearing one, but Rivera apparently was not, according to authorities who found her body Monday morning after a six-day search.

It's also important to anchor your boat to prevent it drifting away while out swimming, according to experts. 

The lake where Rivera drowned is known to be dangerous because of whirlpools, in which several people have drowned. Locals have been petitioning for years to have warning signs posted for swimmers. 

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