Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Casting A Line In Ocean Lakes | Campground Conversations

This week, on Campground Conversations, we are talking to our Landscaping and Grounds Manager, Sammy Gore! Sammy was promoted to his current position about a year ago, and he came in with BIG ideas, and great execution. The Ocean Lakes landscaping received a beautiful makeover and our lakes got the attention they so deserved (dredging, research, bedding, restocking).

While Sammy is an expert on quite a few topics concerning landscaping and lakes, we are focusing on fishing this week. So, pull up a chair, cast a line, and let’s get fishy with Sammy!

Here is what Sammy had to say on fishing in Ocean Lakes |

Ocean Lakes Family Campground features eight freshwater lakes, so pack your tackle box! Our lakes are stocked with Catfish, Bass, Bream, and Carp. Fishing is a favorite activity for many Ocean Lakes families.

In the Spring of 2017, we hired specialists, The Smart Group, a science-based consulting group in nearby Pawleys Island, to access the condition of our lakes and the creatures that live there. We know our guests love to fish and we want to make sure we are being good stewards of our property.

Let’s Go Back In Time | The lakes around Ocean Lakes started getting special attention in the 1990’s when the campground launched a Lake Management Program. The program initially aimed to improve the look of the ponds, which had become covered in weeds and algae. Officials started stocking the ponds with sterile, grass-eating carp to control the vegetation. Guests who were fishing started catching these impressive fish – Feeding a new frenzy for fishing in the campground ponds. With tales of landing these great fish circulating through the campground, fishing became an even more popular activity. Ocean Lakes started stocking the ponds every three years with more Carp, Bass, Bream, and Catfish for sport fishing. But through the years, the stocking was not working as well as officials had hoped.

Jump To The Most Recent | Back in January, we added five more parking spots around Lake Sandlapper to give our guests more room to fish. Before, they only had the north side of the lake because of all the cars parked along the bulkhead. Along with Lake Sandlapper, we added six golf car pads to Sand Dollar Lake. Then, Palm Trees were added at Sandlapper as part of the new landscaping.

Recycling Christmas Trees | Throughout December and January, we recycled Christmas trees. The purpose of the Christmas trees was to provide a habitat for the fish. Fish depend on habitats to survive and reproduce. Once our lake dredging project was completed, we added the recycled Christmas trees into the lakes. There were five clusters of three trees placed in front of every golf car parking pad.

The Christmas Trees will be added again in January of 2021 to give the fish more habitat. We will be putting most of them in Lake Emily and some in Lake Sandlapper.

Restocking | Our goal is to use an electrofishing method in early September. This affects the movement of the fish so that they swim toward the anode, where they can be caught. Electrofishing is a common scientific survey method used to sample fish populations to determine abundance, density, and species composition. This pulsed direct current results in no harm to the fish, which return to their natural state in as little as two minutes. This will be done by an outside contractor with the help of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

In October, we will be restocking Lake Emily and Lake Sandlapper with Bream, and the Bass will be restocked in the Spring. The number of fish will depend on the results of the research. 

Ocean Lakes is looking into automatic fish feeders, which will help in the growth and population of the fish. We would like our guests to have a better chance at catching larger fish on every cast.

Things to remember when fishing in Ocean Lakes |

Recycling Fishing Line | Monofilament line lasts for 500 years. It is harmful to wildlife (and a nuisance to boaters). Please cast your used fishing line in one of our six receptacles adjacent to our lakes. Through Ocean Lakes’ iCare Program, we try to educate our guests about ways we are trying to be better stewards of our environment. Please recycle!

Bait and Tackle | No worries about bait or tackle – It is available at Sandy Mart! Located at the Camptown Center, Sandy Mart has a lot of your basic fishing supplies, including live bait and the snacks to make your time fishing even better.

Catch and Release | When fishing in any of our eight lakes, we require guests to “catch and release” any fish that bites their line. This is to ensure the fish population in all of our lakes remains highly populated and not depleted.

Until Next Time | Stay tuned for the Campground Conversations video segment tomorrow on our social media! You will hear first-hand the efforts we are making in taking care of our eight lakes and ensuring that our guests have a great fishing experience with every cast.

That’s our Campground Conversation for the week – We will catch ya later, Ocean Lakes!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Educating Guests On Ocean Lakes’ Golf Car Policies and SC State Laws

We get it, you are on vacation, so taking the time to read the golf car policies does not always happen. However, by not reading them, you are putting you and your family at risk of receiving an Ocean Lakes fine or a ticket from SC Highway Patrol. Golf cars should never be driven on Highway 17 or Highway 544. Golf cars paths for privately-owned golf cars leaving the campground have been provided for guests to safely and legally cross Highway 17 and get to Ocean Lakes Village and other points of interest both north and south. Learn more by viewing Title 56 of the SC Code

We take our policies, as well as our guests’ and Teammates’ safety very seriously; therefore, it is crucial that everyone reads and abides by our golf car policies because actions will be taken against golf car violations.

Communication Is Key | Please know that we care greatly about our guests’ safety and try to be proactive about this. For years we have encouraged our privately-owned golf car owners to “be aware of South Carolina driving laws on public roads.” This is included in our magazine, website, pdf downloadable policies, newsletters, golf car trail blogs and promos, and more. In addition to our marketing communications, specific details about the SCDMV Registration and SC State Laws are included in Annual Lease Site Holder’s transfer packets and when guests register their private golf cars with Ocean Lakes Golf Cars.

Privately Owned Golf Car Registration | Annually, the owner of a personally owned golf car must register their golf car. The owner of the golf car must sign a copy of the Golf Car Rules. They must also provide Ocean Lakes Golf Cars with a copy of their Liability Insurance on the golf car from their insurance provider along with a valid Driver’s License. There is a $35 fee per registration sticker issued. All registration stickers expire annually on December 31st.

Ocean Lakes Registration Requirements |

1.    The owner of the golf car must maintain a minimum of $50,000 Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability Insurance on golf car and verify that their insurance covers all authorized drivers (family, friends, and renters).
2.    The golf car must have working light(s) permanently attached to the front of the car and working light(s) or reflectors on the rear of the car. Golf cars driven after sunset must have the lights turned on.
3.    NO gas-powered golf cars are permitted.
4.    Golf cars cannot be rented from outside sources/companies.
5.    Golf car registration stickers cannot be issued to any day visitors (the guest must be registered as an overnight guest or be an ALS holder).
6.    Annual Lease Site Holders: Annual Lease Site number must be attached to both the front and back of the car in reflective letters at least 3” high. The golf car must be registered to the annual lease site in the owners’ names and to no other site.

Rules, Rules, Rules | Many people criticize our policies and even say that we have too many. To that, we say: Yes, we do have a lot of policies in place, and each of those policies are in place for a reason. Keep in mind, we are a large campground and on any given day during the Summertime, there could be anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000 people in the campground. Imagine if we did not have policies in place! It helps to reduce the risk to your family and your property. We will always put the safety of our guests and Teammates first.

Let’s Go Over The Golf Car Policies |

1.    Under NO circumstances can golf cars be rented to other sites or other guests as a separate transaction.
2.    Operator(s) of golf car must be at least 16 years of age and have in their possession a VALID Driver’s License to operate a golf car anywhere in South Carolina. The licensed driver must be in complete control of the Golf Car at ALL times.
3.    Golf cars driven after sunset must have the lights turned on and cannot be operated during the quiet hours (11 PM – 7 AM) with no legitimate destination.
4.    Golf Cars must be operated properly at all times and driven on roadways. No reckless driving, racing or misuse of the Golf Car will be tolerated. Drivers must obey all traffic signs. Golf cars are not to be driven on campsites, beach, or restricted areas. All passengers must be safely seated on the golf car at all times.
5.    No loud, lewd, vulgar, or offensive music (or language). Please keep the volume level on radios, stereos, or other audio devices low so others are not disturbed, and only play music that is family friendly.
6.    No open containers of alcoholic beverages on your golf car (or in your possession anywhere, but your site). Please, for everyone’s safety, do not drink and drive.
7.    The Golf Car Owner is responsible for the operation of the golf car. The Golf Car Owner shall indemnify and hold Ocean Lakes Family Campground harmless from and against any and all liability, including bodily injury and property damage arising out of the use or operation of the equipment by the Golf Car Owner and anyone using or operating the same with the Golf Car Owner express or implied consent.
8.    ANNUAL LEASE HOLDERS: The golf car must be registered to your site. The site number must be attached to both the front and back of the golf car in reflective letters/numbers at least 3” high.

South Carolina State Laws | Rule #9 details SC Laws. Learn more by viewing Title 56 of the SC Code

9.    The rules for operating a personally owned golf car outside of Ocean Lakes Campground are as follows:
a.    The golf car must be registered with the SC DMV and attach the registration sticker on the front of the golf car.
b.    You may only drive during the daylight hours and within 4 miles of your home, business, or the campground.
c.    You can only drive on secondary roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
d.    All drivers must be at least 16 years of age and have in their possession a VALID Driver’s License to operate a golf car anywhere in South Carolina.

10. Ocean Lakes Rental Golf Cars are NEVER allowed outside of the campground.

11. The Golf Car Registration Sticker/Decal cannot be duplicated or reproduced in any way. Doing so voids the decal and you may be removed from the park and/or jeopardize the Annual Lease Holder agreement.

Golf Car Violations will result in the following actions: This is a Zero Tolerance Policy |

Privately Owned – Campsite and Rental Guests:
First Offense - $100 Fine that must be paid immediately at the Main Office.
Second Offense - $100 Fine and guest loses the privilege to operate a golf car in the campground. The golf car must be placed on the guest’s trailer or stored in the Golf Car Storage Area.

Privately Owned – Annual Lease Site Holders:
First Offense - $100 Fine and will be levied against the Annual Lease Site and documented in the Site’s file. This fine must be paid immediately in the Main Office.
Second Offense - $100 Fine and will be levied against the Annual Lease Site and documented in the Site’s file. The Second Offense will result in the loss of privilege to have a golf car in the campground for one year. The golf car must be removed from the campground or stored in the Golf Car Storage Area.
Additional Offenses: If violations occur after the Second Offense, the lease could be in jeopardy.

Avoid A Ticket When Leaving The Campground - Take A Ride On The Trail | The Campground Access Trail provides guests with a privately-owned golf car easy and safe access to get across the street to Ocean Lakes Village (Wal-Mart, Duck Donuts, McDonalds, Walgreens, etc.). Remember, rental golf cars are NOT allowed to leave the property. When taking this route to leave the campground, remember, you must have a South Carolina Permit Sticker and a valid Driver’s License. Avoid driving on Highway 544 and Hwy 17 Business. We recommend crossing over Highway 17 Business at the Mayport Drive traffic light, north of Ocean Lakes.

Until Next Time | To put it simply - Stay safe and abide by our policies and South Carolina State Laws. Do not let your vacation be ruined by not following our policy and risk getting a fine in Ocean Lakes or a ticket on the highway by Highway Patrol or Horry County Police. Ocean Lakes is where memories are made that last a lifetime; let those memories be sweet and bring a smile to your face. After all, we are your happy place!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Courtesy Patrol | Campground Conversations

Nicknamed “The Courtesy Patrol” by Mr. Jackson, our Security Team is always around to help in any situation in the campground whenever you need them.

This week, on Campground Conversations, we are talking to our Security Manager, Cedric! He is providing insight into our Security Team’s capabilities and training, and helping guests understand the reasoning behind a few of the Ocean Lakes Policies. Let’s get started with the conversation this week!

Here is what Cedric had to say on Ocean Lakes Security |

Ocean Lakes Security | The Ocean Lakes Security Team strives to provide a safe and enjoyable vacation destination for all families to enjoy. We want you to have fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. However, we expect that fun to be within our policies and guidelines. Yes, we do have a lot of policies in place, and each of those policies are in place for a reason. Keep in mind, we are a large campground and on any given day during Summertime, there is anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000 people in the campground. Imagine the chaos if we did not have policies in place!

As Mr. Jackson used to say, “We really only have one rule, conduct yourselves like Ladies and Gentlemen.” That still stands true today.

What Do We Look For? | I look for candidates that are friendly and understand the value of guest interaction. If it is a position of Patrol or a Supervisor, public service experience is greatly appreciated: military, police, fire, EMS, etc. However, this is not required because we spend lots of time doing on the job training.

Capabilities and Training | Most Security Teammate is SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) Certified, which is renewed annually. This means they have the rights of a Deputy Sheriff on the property that they have been hired to protect. 

We offer SLED Training (ethics, professionalism, situational awareness, law enforcement relations, report writing, dealing with difficult people, reasonable suspicion, probable cause, handcuffing), Pepper Spray Certification, Taser Certification, and Defensive Tactic Training. We can do up to detaining (with handcuffs) and make an arrest, depending on the situation. Our Offices are trained in less lethal methods, like Pepper Spray and Taser usage.

Our training process takes approximately 2-3 weeks and is continual. We do re-certifications annually or every 2 years, depending on what is required by law. 

Frequently Asked Questions |

Q: Why is a 15-year-old allowed drive a car on the road with a driver’s license, but not a golf car?
A: A car is a much bigger and heavier vehicle - most will drive correctly. Golf cars are much smaller, and less intimidating. Younger teenagers are more willing to drive them recklessly. Therefore, the company’s stance is 16 years old with a valid driver’s license.

Q: What is Security doing to fix the stolen coolers issue?
A: We have undercover officers, a Yeti cooler with a tracker, bike patrol, foot patrol, and vehicular patrol. We suggest that our guests take their valuables in at night. Always be proactive because criminals look for “crimes of convenience.” Lock your vehicles, secure your belongings, just as most people would do at home or work. There are criminals on vacation, as well.

Q: Can I bring my Pitbull or Rottweiler to Ocean Lakes?
A: The biggest responsibility of owning such amazing, intelligent breeds as Rotties or Pit Bulls is training them and understanding how to handle them in public places, as well as being aware of your specific dog's personality and limitations. Unfortunately, many people do not honor this responsibility and we have experienced repeated problems with those specific breeds at Ocean Lakes. There is a perception of those breeds that owners must face in addition to legal liabilities and insurance costs. (If you are honest with your agent, your insurance is generally higher, as you know.) Truthfully, those breeds are much more powerful and harder to regain control of when they misbehave or attack. It is not that we have a pet problem, or breed problem, often it comes down to a people problem. We work very closely with our legal and insurance teams, and we follow recommendations that are in the best interest of the majority of our guests and residents. In addition, we had specific incidents in the past with these breeds, before the decision was made to disallow them.

Q: If I am trespassed, what is the process to eventually be allowed back in Ocean Lakes?
A: The trespassed guest would need to contact the Security Manager to set an appointment to discuss the reason for their trespass in person. If the guest is remorseful and can explain how things will be different going forward, in most cases (but, not all), that trespass will be lifted.

Until Next Time | Stay tuned for the Campground Conversations video segment tomorrow on our social media! You will meet Cedric and learn more on what it takes to be an Ocean Lakes Security Teammate, as well as some reasoning behind a few of our policies.

That’s our Campground Conversation for the week – We will catch ya later, Ocean Lakes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Kamp Starfish – Where Friends Are Made | Campground Conversations

Can you hear all the giggles? They are coming from the Recreation Center! Do you know why? Those are our Kamp Starfish Kids having FUN with our Kids Kamp Counselors!

This week on Campground Conversations, we are giving you a sneak peek into Kamp Starfish, introducing you to one of our Kamp Counselors, and showing you all the fun the Ocean Lakes kiddos are having!

Meet Jolie McMenamin – She loves working with kids, is a third year Kamp Starfish Counselor, and loves playing Limbo!

Join the conversation this week and hear what Jolie had to say on Kamp Starfish |

When? | Kamp Starfish is held in the Recreation Center throughout Summer every Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 12 Noon.

Sign Up? | Guests can register their child (ages 4 - 11) daily from 9 AM to 9:30 AM. There are only 15 slots available, and 4 to 5 Kamp Counselors are in each day.

Cost? | The cost per child is $40 for 5 days or $10 per day.

All The Fun | We have a wide variety of activities that include music, crafts, group games snack, and nature activities. 

A favorite activity is when the Counselors break out the Parachute, and of course the dancing!

Each child will receive a Kamp Starfish souvenir, as well as an opportunity to make friends and have lots of fun!

Time For Kamp | If you have not given Kamp Starfish a try, come by the Recreation Center this Summer to sign up – The kids love it and so do we! There are brochures available in the Recreation Center for more information. With knowledgeable Kamp Counselors and a wide variety of fun activities, Kamp Starfish is a unique and exciting experience that we are proud to offer here at Ocean Lakes!

Until Next Time | Stay tuned for the Campground Conversations video segment tomorrow on our social media! You will get an inside look at Kamp Starfish with one of our Kamp Starfish Counselors, Jolie.

That’s our Campground Conversation for the week – We will catch ya later, Ocean Lakes!