NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Saturday was an active day on the beaches in the North Myrtle Beach area, with about 40 incidents where lifeguards had to respond to something happening out in the water, according to North Myrtle Beach Public Information Office Pat Dowling.
Dowling said there was a heavy rip current out on the beaches Saturday, and they had red flags along beach indicating high winds and dangerous currents.
Lifeguards responded out to water about 40 times, Dowling said, but that included lifeguards bringing swimmers into shallower waters, as well as assisting swimmers caught in a rip current.
Rip currents will not pull you under, but will take you away from shore. If you feel you're in one, stay calm and swim parallel to shore, said Myrtle Beach Park Ranger Ann Wilson in an interview earlier this month.
"Rip current is going to form and we are normally going to see them at lower tides," Wilson said. "But you have a sand bar, so it's a hill of sand out in the ocean, and then there's a break in the middle of it and the water is going to shoot through. Think of it like a treadmill of water shooting through a break in the water."
Dowling said the red flags will likely remain in effect Sunday. Given the forecasted rain Monday, Dowling said people may want to stay home and off the beach.
A red flag at the beach indicates high surf and/or strong currents, according to the City of Myrtle Beach website. Yellow flag means there is a medium hazard from surf and currents, and green means calm conditions. A double red flag means the water is closed to the public, and a blue flag indicates dangerous marine life in the area.
Lt. Jonathan Evans with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue said that they had a comparatively mild day along the beaches they patrol. He said they whistled a few people in, but none of his crews had any incidents of note. Lt. Evans added that some of the beaches did put up red flags, especially towards the later part of the day as winds picked up, but most beaches stayed at a yellow warning level.