South Carolina

What you need to know before hitting the sand and surf in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach Police offer tips for on swimmer safety

PFC. Tony Klimas with the Myrtle Beach Police Department offers quick swimmer safety tips as part of the department's video initiative, aimed at both warning the public and connecting them with police officers. Video courtesy of the Myrtle Beach P
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PFC. Tony Klimas with the Myrtle Beach Police Department offers quick swimmer safety tips as part of the department's video initiative, aimed at both warning the public and connecting them with police officers. Video courtesy of the Myrtle Beach P

It’s about that time of the year when residents and tourists pack their cars and flock to the beach for a day of fun in the sun.

Similar to other beach communities, Myrtle Beach has a specific list of beach rules and regulations for visitors to follow. The city has passed several ordinances over the years that aim to protect all beach-goers and preserve the shores, and those who violate beach laws are subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail, upon conviction.

Here is some helpful information as you prepare for your visit to Myrtle Beach.

BEACH DECORUM

Alcohol, glass containers and glass bottles are not allowed on the beach.

Visitors are advised to stay on the boardwalks and marked paths to avoid disturbing or damaging the dunes, according to the Myrtle Beach city ordinance. It is illegal to disturb or damage the dunes, the sand fencing or the sea grass and sea oats.

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If you want to search for buried treasure, metal detectors are only allowed on the public beach. The use of metal detectors is restricted in the dunes, the street ends or any other public property.

Don’t be a litterbug. Littering is illegal, and visitors are advised to use the available trash and recycling containers. While not a law, Myrtle Beach is currently considering discontinuing the use of plastic on the beach.

Gathering around a crackling fire on the beach looks cool in the movies, but all fires are prohibited on the beach, including barbecues and bonfires. Fireworks are also restricted from the beach. It is illegal to discharge, sell, store or possess fireworks within the city, including the beach. Fireworks displays by pyrotechnic professional may be approved if permitted and supervised.

Getting married along the oceanfront is romantic, but commercial weddings and other commercial activities are not allowed on the beach. Non-commercial weddings, where no one is being paid, are allowed without a permit.

Golf carts may not be driven on the beach, bike paths, sidewalks or multipurpose paths.

BEACH GEAR AND DRESS CODE

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, only circular umbrellas, up to seven-and-a-half feet in diameter, are allowed, according to the ordinance. Umbrellas must be in line with or behind the lifeguards’ line of umbrellas or landward of the mean high tide line. Tents and canopies, when allowed, must be 10 feet behind the umbrella line.

From the day after Labor Day until Memorial Day, tents and canopies up to 12-by-12 square feet.

Want to get the best spot on the beach? Well, beach-goers are permitted to set up their gear after 8 a.m., and must remove their items from the beach by 7 p.m., daily.

Tanlines may be annoying but you need to cover your bum when visiting the area. “Thong” style bathing suits are not allowed on the beach or in public, the City says.

PETS, BICYCLES & WHEELCHAIRS

From May 1 through Labor Day, dogs are allowed on the beach before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. and on the boardwalk between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. Bikes are also permitted on the boardwalk between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. through Labor Day.

From the day after Labor Day to Apr. 30, dogs and bicycles are allowed on the beach and boardwalk at anytime.

Pet owners must walk their dog on a leash up to seven-feet long, and must also pick up and properly dispose of any droppings.

The city offers free beach-going wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis.

PARKING

Payment for parking is required is required where indicated. Tickets for overtime or improper parking are $30 and increase by an additional $30 if unpaid after 30 days.

Vehicles with a handicap sticker or a license plate specifying a handicapped, disabled American veteran, Purple Heart or Medal of Honor may park free at the public pay spaces.

All golf carts must be parked legally, one to a space, and be registered with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles in order to be driven on public streets.

BEACH FLAG SYSTEM & PUBLIC SAFETY

Myrtle Beach has a flag system notifying beach-goers about current water conditions. Flags will fly from lifeguard stands to alert swimmers of any potential dangers.

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A double-red flag means the ocean is closed to the public, restricting any swimming while a single-red flag indicates hazardous conditions, such as strong waves and currents. A yellow flag signals medium hazards, conditions are safe when a green flag is shown, and a blue flag stipulates dangerous marine life, such as a high number of jellyfish.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department’s beach patrol will have officers working on the beach, along with three EMS crews available daily to provide first aid and assist with any water-related emergencies. Additionally, lifeguards will be stationed along the beach and a beach coordinator will monitor the oceanfront, sand dunes and public accesses.

For more information, call 843-918-1014 or visit the Myrtle Beach city website.

Anna Young is the Coastal Cities reporter for The Sun News covering anything and everything that happens locally. Young, an award-winning journalist who got her start reporting local news in New York, is dedicated to upholding the values of journalism by listening, learning, seeking out the truth and reporting it accurately. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Purchase College.


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