Myrtle Beach leaders look at potential changes to lifeguard duties ahead of summer months

The city is looking to do away with the dual roles of lifeguards, which includes watching the beaches while also renting out beach gear.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 8:07 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Lifeguard duties in the Grand Strand may be different in the coming summer months.

Previously, Myrtle Beach city leaders talked about changing the dual roles of lifeguards. Now they’re one step closer to a decision when it comes to beach safety.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, members got a first look at what it would mean to change the structure of lifeguarding.

“This amendment would allow the lifeguard companies to have lifeguard-only people,” said Mark Kruea, Spokesperson for the city. “In other words, people who only did the lifeguards and then they had a separate person or people that would do the beach chair and umbrella rentals.”

The city currently uses two private beach service companies to provide lifeguards for the 60 miles of beach.

These men and women are currently responsible for monitoring the beaches and renting out beach gear like umbrellas and chairs to beachgoers. Kruea said the city has adopted methods from other municipalities for decades, which is why the potential new change is something he said the city feels is necessary, along with recommendations from the United States Lifesaving Association.

“It recommends that you have lifeguard only and then if there’s a retail component that a separate person other than the lifeguards do that retail component and that’s the direction we’re moving towards with today’s vote,” said Kruea.

All council members were in unison with making a change.

“This is a huge improvement for public safety in the city of Myrtle Beach,” said Myrtle Beach City Councilman John Krajc. “And I would definitely like to say thank you to both franchisees for being willing and open to increase public safety on our beach.”

Kruea shared the same sentiments.

“I think the franchises realized that this was the direction that they needed to move it certainly the direction that the City Council has indicated we need to move in so that we provide you know good safety on the beaches through lifeguards who have no other job but to watch the water.”

Myrtle Beach City Council will take a second look at future plans for lifeguards before making a decision at the next council meeting on March 28.