Beach safety is on the minds of many after missing surfer

Officials urge safety during hazardous ocean conditions

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A day on the beach is relaxing for many, and often filled with sunbathing and riding in a wave or two, but there are dangers lurking in the water which beach officials want everyone to be mindful of, especially after a surfer went missing Friday.

Monty Reed is the Lifeguard Coordinator in North Myrtle Beach, and he said one of the biggest problems for many swimmers is a lack of fear. "Over confidence can kill you," Reed said. "You think you're stronger, or tougher, or better swimmer than you really are. And you get yourself in a dangerous situation and it can hurt you."

Reed has been with the city for seven years, and on Monday he had his lifeguards change the flags from yellow to red on their posts because of the weather.

High winds created choppy water in the ocean and Reed said it was probably because of the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea.

Keeping notice of the flags on the beach at the lifeguard stands is a tip Reed gives to beach goers.

When in the water a rip current can be one of the most dangerous elements a swimmer can encounter. Reed advises people to first stay calm if they find themselves in a rip current and then swim parallel to the shoreline to get out of the current.

Kerry Khoury and her family are like many others who visit Myrtle Beach year after year. She said safety is such a top priority when her family is the beach that she sits just near the life guard chair.

"We like to be as close as possible obviously," said Khoury. "They (life guards) got a lot of people to watch. So you've got to watch out for your kids also."

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