Think twice before wading over.

By Melissa Locker
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Cape Point Outer Banks North Carolina New Island aerial
Credit: Chad Koczera / @chadonka

Shelly Island is the latest addition to the Outer Banks, but you can't vacation there quite yet.

Two months ago, the little island popped out of the sea off the coast of North Carolina, near Cape Point and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. What started as a "little bump" peeking out of the water, soon grew to be "three football fields" wide, The Virginian-Pilot reported last month, and was christened Shelly Island.

As the summer tourist season gets underway, beach lovers are flocking to Shelly Island to explore the new land and collect some of its namesake seashells. However, officials for Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) really want people to think twice before visiting the new stretch of land and to be extremely careful making their way across the water.

Over the last few weeks, authorities had to rescue five people from the island after they were stuck there when the tide came in, The Virginian-Pilot reports. Apparently, the intrepid shell collectors had wandered over to Shelly Island at low tide and were unable to make it back through the much rougher waters of high tide and the heroic rescue squad had to swoop in to save them.

Authorities recommend kayaking or paddleboarding to the new landmass, and strongly discourage attempting to swim or wade there because of strong currents in the stretch of water that separates Shelly Island from Cape Point. If currents don't scare you, officials also mentioned that both sharks and sting rays lurk in the water there.

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It's easy to understand why people want to explore Shelly Island. It's not often that the South sprouts a new beach and authorities warn that the oversized sandbar could disappear as quickly as arrived. Still, it's important to be safe, but as one official told The Virginian-Pilot, "A shell is not worth your life."