Myrtle Beach shoreline with pier in the background

The Myrtle Beach municipal government recently passed an amendment changing lifeguard qualification requirements and responsibilities, with these changes going into effect for the Summer 2023 season, according to WMBF News.

Updates and Changes for 2023

The recently enacted amendment for 2023 has ended the dual role of lifeguards working for the lifeguard companies who patrol Myrtle Beach. These changes to the Myrtle Beach beach rules were made following a wrongful death suit against one of the lifeguard companies that alleged lifeguards had been distracted with renting out umbrellas and beach chairs rather than monitoring the water for people in distress.

The amendment removes the responsibility for lifeguards to set up and tear down rental equipment and other concessions on the beach. Instead, those duties will shift to a new beach service attendant role, allowing lifeguards to focus solely on ensuring the safety of people on the beach and in the water. Beach service attendants will set up and tear down beach equipment, answer questions from beachgoers about concessions, swim advisories, and marine life warnings, and assist lifeguards with minor emergencies.

New Lifeguard Regulations

Under the new Myrtle Beach rules, lifeguards must meet specific physical requirements and possess various certifications, unlike beach service attendants, who don’t need as many certifications.

The new regulations say lifeguards:

  • Must be at least 17 years old
  • Must be able to swim 500 meters in under 10 minutes
  • Must be CPR-certified
  • Must complete at least 40 hours of open water life-saving training in a program that meets U.S. Lifeguard Association standards

Enhanced Safety Protocols

In addition to focusing lifeguards’ duties solely on beachgoer safety, Myrtle Beach has also adopted enhanced safety protocols to better equip lifeguards to respond to emergencies.

  • Introduction of updated rescue techniques or equipment – Under the new franchise agreements between Myrtle Beach and the lifeguard companies, lifeguards must receive first aid kits, rescue buoys, and two-way radios with police frequencies.
  • Implementation of stricter monitoring and surveillance measures – Lifeguards will also receive taller observation towers to provide a better view over the beach and the water. For the Summer 2023 season, lifeguards will patrol the beaches from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with two-person emergency response teams patrolling from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Importance of Adhering to Lifeguard Rules

The renewed focus on having Myrtle Beach lifeguards dedicated exclusively to beachgoer safety should help reduce the risks of drownings and other emergencies in the water. Lifeguards can now devote their attention to helping people in distress and enforcing beach rules and warnings.

Adhering to each beach’s rules and restrictions and the warning flags and signs posted by lifeguards can help keep beachgoers safe from hazards such as riptides, dangerous marine life, and waters unsafe for the average person to swim in. Disregarding lifeguard warnings because something seems “fun” to do not only puts a beachgoer’s life at risk but also risks the life of lifeguards who must venture out to save them in an emergency.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident on the beach and you believe someone else was responsible, contact Jebaily Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how a Myrtle Beach personal injury attorney can help you.

Jebaily Law Firm

Jebaily Law Firm, is one of South Carolina’s long-established and well-respected legal practices. With offices in Florence, North Myrtle Beach, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., we are trial lawyers focused on plaintiff litigation in personal injury, workers’ compensation, and social security disability. Established in 1969, we have more than 100 years of combined legal experience in protecting the rights of clients and advocating for the safety and well-being of South Carolina citizens.