Myrtle Beach lifeguards reflect on summer; beach rules change
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Watching the water as a lifeguard is a big responsibility, and for the first time this summer, Myrtle Beach lifeguards were able to keep their focus on swimmers and the surf.
“It’s definitely challenging keeping a hard eye on the water when having to deal with rentals,” said the Supervisor of John’s Beach Service, Lath Palmer.
Palmer said he watched over the water through John’s for the last four years. He saw first-hand the need for separating the roles of Myrtle Beach lifeguards.
Before this summer, lifeguards had to watch the water and rent out beach equipment.
Myrtle Beach leaders decided to do away with the decades-old practice of dual roles back in May.
“I’ve been supervising for the last two years, but this year as a supervisor, I’ve had more saves total than any years prior to that being a supervisor and a lifeguard on the stand 24/7,” said Palmer.
He credits that to keeping his eyes solely on the water. He also says there have been strong rip currents this summer, and he’s been at the right place at the right time.
It certainly was the case on July 1.
“We had something like 31 rescues between single victim rescues with flotation to multiple victim rescues without flotation that was by far the craziest day,” he said. “I can only imagine what the combined number was with agencies across the beach.”
Palmer said he is thankful the summer craziness is about to slow down.
As Labor Day came to an end, so did summer beach rules.
“The rules will be changing; people will now be allowed to have canopies or their shibumi’s out,” said Kirstin Barton, a lifeguard with Johns’s Beach Service. “So it’ll make things a lot easier as far as not having to chase down each and every one of those to let them know they can’t have it on the beach.”
The city’s policy on umbrellas ended Tuesday, meaning nono-umbrellas measuring less than 12 feet by 12 feet are now permitted. That does not include unincorporated areas of Horry County with a Myrtle Beach address, which have to adhere to the county’s shading guidelines.
John’s Beach Service Lead Supervisor Greg Urbine said he’s ready for fall even though it doesn’t feel like it yet.
“The new transition and going into the fall, it is a complete another season now, so we are going into another month or two of a different type of crowd, I guess you can say,” he said. “But it seems the mellow out quite a bit, and we all look forward to this time.”
Dogs will also be allowed on the beaches and boardwalk at any time of day now but must be kept on a leash seven feet or shorter. Owners are also responsible for picking up and disposing of droppings.
Bicycles are also fully allowed on the boardwalk.
These changes run through April 30, 2024.
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