MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - So far, 2017 is being called 'a very good, successful summer' by lifeguards patrolling the beaches. Last year, they said that wasn't exactly the case. After last year's notably deadly year in the water, new changes have been made to Myrtle Beach's Lack's Beach Service.
Libor Jedlicka with Lack's Beach Service said there are 130 lifeguards this year covering 10 miles of beach, and changes are already making a difference. One of those changes is a new flag system. You'll now see flags at each lifeguard tower and beach access. Jedlicka said more lifeguards were hired this year than last, there's more training, more supervisors and now all lifeguard managers are trained on the jet skis. He explained lifeguard towers are also now being moved as the tide changes.
"In case the tide gets low, the beach gets big, so we try to have these lifeguards move their towers close to the water. So, they're close to those swimmers. Try to educate them more about water conditions. Rip currents cause about 80 percent of all rescues. On a day like today, we have a lot of boogie boarders and we're trying to keep them close to shore," said Libor Jedlicka.
Lack's Beach Service is working closely with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue and Myrtle Beach Police Beach Patrol this year as well, Jedlicka said. He said that partnership is obvious with quicker medical responses.
Lifeguards are on the beach until 7 at night, but are training weekly in the water.