Water Safety Tips

Your Guide to Pool and Beach Safety in the Myrtle Beach Area

With tens of thousands of people swimming in the ocean and pool daily during the summertime, the Myrtle Beach area has an excellent safety record. But it's important to take proper precautions whenever near water. Here are a few water safety tips to make sure your visit to one of the many beaches or pools in the Myrtle Beach area is as fun and as safe as possible.

Beach Safety

  • Look for, read, and obey all beach safety flags. If you are unsure of the meanings of each flag, please reference the graphic below. 
  • Swim in areas with a lifeguard
  • Listen and follow lifeguard's directions and warnings
  • Swim with a buddy
  • Swim sober
  • Don't fight the current (and signal for help!) 
  • Don't float where you can't swim
  • Watch small children closely
  • Don't swim or surf within 75 yards of piers or where people are fishing (fishing attracts aquatic life)
  • Don't dive into the surf (protect your neck!)
  • Leash your boogie board or surfboard
  • Ask a lifeguard about ocean water conditions
  • People with open wounds/cuts or compromised immune systems should avoid public bodies of water
  • Know the local rules and laws (visit the municipalities website for more info)
  • Drowning Bulletin: Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning (PDF)

Tides & Beach Conditions

Beaches along the Grand Strand indicate the beach water conditions through warning flags, displayed near the beach access points. These beach warning flags are universal, yet not many people know what each flag means. The graphic below can help you quickly assess the water conditions before deciding to swim. 

Beach Warning Flags on water conditions for Beach Safety 

Learn more about the latest tides and conditions in the Myrtle Beach area. 

Pool Safety

While pools do not have a current like the ocean does, a pool or waterpark may seem like a safer option for less experienced swimmers. Many resorts offer pools and waterparks with extravagant slides, lazy rivers, and other exciting features for all ages. It is easy to enjoy a lovely day at the pool or waterpark, while keeping these pool safety tips in mind.

  • Watch Children - It is important to not drink alcohol, look at a phone, or nap while your children are swimming.
  • Teach Kids to Swim - It is recommended that your child take swimming lessons prior to going on vacation where pools and the beach are the main attractions, even if they teach basic skills in the water.
  • Use Life Jackets - Do not use air filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles, or inner tubes as they are not designed to keep children safe from drowning.
  • Enter Water Feet First - Jumping or diving into too shallow water can cause injuries that are preventable by knowing the depth of the pool.
  • Never Swim Alone - Even for confident swimmers, it is important to use a buddy system to prevent an emergency.
  • Learn CPR - Everyone, regardless if you have children, should learn CPR for emergency situations.

The American Red Cross also provides updated water safety resources along with a link to find swimming lessons in your area.

Assuring Clean, Safe Water

The health and safety of residents and visitors are of the highest importance to the municipalities in the Myrtle Beach area. To ensure that area beach water is clean and safe, a voluntary beach water monitoring program is underway in cooperation with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. During the summer months, the surf is regularly tested. If unacceptable levels of bacteria are detected, the area affected is posted with an advisory.

The possibility of pollutants in ocean water is greatest after heavy rain when runoff from lawns and streets can pick up fertilizer, pesticides, and trash. Swimming immediately after a rainstorm and playing in shallow tidal pools or in the water discharging from storm drainage pipes should be avoided. People with compromised immune systems or open wounds or cuts should avoid all public bodies of water, including the ocean, ponds, rivers, lakes, and pools. 

Swimming in contaminated water may result in minor illnesses such as sore throats or diarrhea. Natural organisms can affect anyone with certain existing health problems.

Learn more about Water Quality in Myrtle Beach.

More Sand Means More Room for Sun and Fun

Myrtle Beach area beaches are wider than ever, the result of beach renourishment projects. Learn more about the latest beach renourishment projects planned for the Myrtle Beach area.