Beach Safety Tips
The #1 reason people visit North Myrtle Beach is the beach itself. Because of this, we urge everyone to stay safe on the beach while enjoying their vacation!
- Swim Near A Lifeguard. Swimming near a life guard increases your chances of surviving an emergency. Life guards are there to observe and protect the public at the beach. Look below this page for meanings of beach flag warning signs they fly on their stands.
- Learn To Swim. Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teach children to swim at an early age. As they get older, if they haven;t learned they may refuse to, simply out of embarrassment. Swimming instruction is a crucial step to protecting children from injury or death.
- Never Swim Alone. Many drownings involve single swimmers. When you swim with a buddy, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help, including signaling for assistance from others. Also make sure to have someone onshore watching, especially if children are in the water.
- Don’t Fight the Current. Rip currents are formed by surf and gravity, because once surf pushes water up the slope of the beach, gravity pulls it back. This can create concentrated rivers of water moving offshore. Some people mistakenly call this an undertow, but there is no undercurrent, just an offshore current. If you are caught in a rip current, don’t fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring you to safety. Click the Rip Current picture at the bottom of the page for a downloadable brochure.
- Swim Sober. Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. Alcohol can reduce body temperature and impair swimming ability. Perhaps more importantly, both alcohol and drugs impair good judgment, which may cause people to take risks they would not otherwise take. Alcohol is also illegal on any beach in North Myrtle at any time.
- Leash Your Board. Surfboards and body boards should be used only with a leash. Leashes are usually attached to the board and the ankle or wrist. They are available in most shops where surfboards and bodyboards are sold or rented. With a leash, the user will not become separated from the flotation device. One additional consideration is a breakaway leash. A few drownings have been attributed to leashes becoming entangled in underwater obstructions. A breakaway leash avoids this problem.
- Don’t Float Where You Can’t Swim. Non-swimmers often use flotation devices, like inflatable rafts, to go offshore. If they fall off, they can quickly drown. No one should use a flotation device unless they are able to swim.
- Life Jackets = Boating Safety. Some 80% of fatalities associated with boating accidents are from drowning. Most involve people who never expected to end up in the water, but fell overboard or ended up in the water when the boat sank. Children are particularly susceptible to this problem and in many states, children are required to be in lifejackets whenever they are aboard boats.
During peak season, missing children are an everyday occurrence along our beaches. Beach Patrol receives as many as 30 calls for missing children each day. Beach Patrol has instituted a free wristband program for our residents and visitors. These wristbands can help lost children find their way back to their parents, guardians or caregivers.
- Beach Patrol Officers supply lifeguards with plain wristbands and permanent markers.
- Wristbands are given to and secured upon request or upon observation by lifeguards to children and people with dementia, with the consent of their parents, legal guardians or caretakers.
- Lifeguards mark their lifeguard tower number on the wristband.
- Parents are encouraged to write other information on the wristband as needed.
- Lifeguards then explain to the wearer what to do if they get lost or cannot find their way home. This explanation is an extremely critical part of the program.
In the summer of 2008, Beach Patrol issued out around 4,500 wristbands. It’s a great way to know your child will be safe!