Myrtle Beach council says tents on beach are okay, for now

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Setting up a popular beach item on a hot summer day could soon be against the law. But, as of Tuesday afternoon, beach-goers can still set up tents in Myrtle Beach.

During Tuesday morning's Myrtle Beach City Council workshop, lifeguard operators presented pictures to show tent congestion on the sand and discussed how it's a big safety concern. George Lack of Lack's Beach Service said the tents can make it hard for emergency crews to access the beach line if there's a problem in the water.

Myrtle Beach already tried tackling the tent issue last year. Council members voted on new rules that require tents to setup behind the umbrella line and at least 10-feet apart from each other. Those laws are also raising safety concerns. Beach patrol officers and lifeguards spend time enforcing the laws instead of keeping tabs on what's happening in the water and patrolling the beach.

Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes says he's seen first-hand how crowded things can get when there's too many tents, but, the city is not ready to make a decision on whether or not to ban them.

"We're talking about doing a little more studying on it, do some research up and down the coast to find out what's going on in these other areas,  to see what their rules and regulations are," explained Mayor Rhodes.

City council decided to send a possible ban on tents in Myrtle Beach from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day to the Coastal Alliance. It will be up for discussion during the group's next meeting in August.

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