HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Beach tents were banned for the first time on many beaches, along the Grand Strand this summer, but summer isn't over. Labor Day will be one of the beach's busiest weekends.
Anytime we have hot and humid days, on the beach, it always brings up the conversation: is the tent ban really working for people?
As fast as a tent goes up, it comes down. As you probably know, this was the first summer for a beach tent ban for North Myrtle Beach, followed by Horry County, Myrtle Beach, and Atlantic Beach.
In order to get the word out, Myrtle Beach spent about $2,000 on signs. In addition to signs, North Myrtle Beach posted flyers and passed out 25,000 magnets to implement the law.
More than three months in, and it seems the ban is starting to stick. One Myrtle Beach lifeguard said he has to tell people to take tents down about four times a day, but they bring them down with no problem. Myrtle Beach Police agree, everyone complies. As far as Horry County goes, they have not handed out citations, instead, 1,976 warnings.
North Myrtle Beach has not handed out any citations.
"Wehave had some people show up on the beach with tents but after explaining thenew law to them, and providing them with free use of a City beach umbrella andbeach chair for the day, they understood the new law," said City of North Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Pat Dowling. "They were not alwayshappy about the new law but they complied with it."
While there has been talk of each stretch of the beach trying to reach commonground, from Myrtle Beach down to Surfside, each is sticking to their original plan. The City of North Myrtle Beach says if city council decides to revisit the law, it would do so in the fall or winter, but as of now, everything will stay the same.
Horry County police say with the year-round ban in place, they've handed out fewer warnings, so they don't plan on changing the law. The City of Myrtle Beach said compliance was the goal, and since that's been the case, there has been no talk yet about any possible changes for next year.
While small umbrellas are allowed on these beaches, if you want to pitch a tent, head to Surfside. Police there say, they don't expect that rule to change - tents are welcome. If tents were putting you in danger, Surfside Beach Police would consider changing the policy, but they're not seeing any issues. Some say this is a benefit to Surfside Beach, bringing more people to the area. Even still, police haven't noticed overcrowding on Surfside sand.
As long as you're safe on beaches across the Grand Strand, that's the goal, according to lifeguards who have to enforce this law every day.
"Seeing as how we can see all the way down the beach now, and we can communicate with other guards easier, it makes it a lot easier to make rescues or communicate with each other if something went down," said Ian Anderson, a Myrtle Beach lifeguard.
For those of you looking forward to bringing your tent back to the beach, the seasonal ban will end in Myrtle Beach after Labor Day. North Myrtle Beach and Atlantic Beach will follow on September 15. If you hit these beaches in Horry County before Labor Day, you have to leave that tent at home.