Yesterday (June 21) marked the official start of summer! Hurray! We’re looking forward to many, many days of fun in the sun here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If you’re headed to our shores in the coming months, here are a few tips to make sure your visit is as fun and safe as possible--whether you’re swimming, hunting for seashells or simply laying out:
Always, always, ALWAYS wear sunscreen. Regular application of sunscreen protects against painful sunburn and sun damage. Reapply after swimming and always bring along a hat and UV-protected sunglasses.
Dehydration is a real threat that can sneak up on you in the summer sun. If you’re planning on being in the sun, drink at least two cups of water an hour. Be mindful of alcohol consumption, which can also dehydrate and is dangerous if you plan on swimming in the ocean.
South Carolina DHEC tests the bacteria levels in our ocean water weekly during the summer season. Occasionally (usually following heavy rainfall) you may see a swim advisory sign in a small section of beach. This doesn’t mean the beach is closed. This simply means swimming underwater or ingesting water isn’t advised. Most advisories are lifted in 24 hours. Those with open wounds or weakened immune systems should always avoid public bodies of water, including the ocean during a swim advisory. Check out our water quality page for more information.
Avoid rip currents by paying attention to swim advisories and notices. If you are caught in a rip current, try to remain calm. It’s dangerous to fight a rip current by trying to swim directly back to shore. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you feel the current relax and then swim diagonally back to shore. If you are unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by lifting your arm and yelling for help.
The best way to avoid jellyfish stings is by being aware of your surroundings. Jellyfish have clear bodies with tentacles that can sting hanging below. If you see a jellyfish, get out of the water and alert others. Dead jellyfish found on shore should also be avoided as they can still sting. If you are stung, treat the area immediately with vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Lifeguards should be able to help treat a jellyfish sting.
It's recommended that beachgoers avoid swimming near piers. In fact, aquatic activities, such as swimming and surfing is prohibited within 75 yards of piers in the City of Myrlte Beach. The fishing activity on piers attract aquatic animals so it's best to stay safe by keeping your distance from piers when in the water.
Pay attention to weather reports before heading out to the beach. Lightning can be a real danger to people swimming in the ocean or laying on the beach. If you hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water and off of the beach until the storm passes.
Keep Close Watch on All Your Swimmers
Additionally, make sure you always keep a close watch on children-even confident swimmers-at all times and choose a beach area with a stationed lifeguard. You can have just as much fun while playing it safe—so get out there and enjoy our 60 miles of picture-perfect coastline this summer.