Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Another sign that summer is right around the corner: Lifeguards are back on the beach and they have this piece of advice for you

Beach lifeguard Laurie Mathieu has one big piece of advice for beach-goers as we head into the busy summer season: Watch your kids on the beach.

A sure sign that summer is right around the corner: Lifeguards are back on the beach by Ocean Lakes Family Campground. Lifeguard Laurie Mathieu (above) urges beach-goers to watch their kids and obey the rules lifeguards give them.

Lost children are one of the most common issues beach lifeguards encounter during the busy summer season but is easily avoidable if parents keep a watchful eye on their little ones.

It can be very easy for kids to get disoriented on the beach – especially when it’s full of activity and beach-goers. Beach access points can look very similar from the beach. And kids playing in the waves can drift down the beach in the ocean from their towels on the sand, then not know which way to go when they get out of the water.

“Watch their kids and listen to the lifeguards,” said Mathieu, who has been a lifeguard on the beach by Ocean Lakes for five summers. “Those are the best things to do.”

Laurie Mathieu has been a lifeguard on the beach by Ocean Lakes Family Campground for five years.

Lifeguards are back on the beach by Ocean Lakes Family Campground (their first day was May 12) and ready for a fun, safe season. The lifeguards, provided by Lack’sBeach Service in Myrtle Beach, monitor the beaches for safety, handle rentals of beach umbrellas/chairs and help enforce beach rules. 

Lifeguards will be on the beach from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through Sept. 15. Chair and umbrella rentals are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The rate for one umbrella and two chairs is $35 a day if you pay cash; add a 10 percent fee if you use a credit or debit card. The more consecutive days you rent, the bigger discount you get ($60 for two days; $80 for three days; $100 for four days; $120 for five days, etc.).

Need to rent a beach chair and umbrella? See a lifeguard

Ocean Lakes has nearly a mile of beachfront that falls into the jurisdiction of Horry County, which sets all the rules on the beach for shading devices, fireworks and more. The Horry County Police Department patrols the beach by Ocean Lakes and enforces those rules.

Reminder: Please stay off the sand dunes! Hurricane Matthew wiped out the dunes when it hit the area in October, and the sand piles you see are just the first step to rebuild the dunes. We are working with local, state and federal officials on a beach renourishment project that will shape those mounds, install sand fencing and plant beach vegetation. 

Dunes are crucial to protecting coastal property from storms and hurricanes. Climbing on them or setting up your chairs on top of them hinders the rebuilding process and could be unsafe. That sand is still stabilizing, and the piles were made immediately after Hurricane Matthew, so items from hurricane damage could be buried in those piles, including old sand fencing and wood and metal from the Surfside Beach Pier, which was heavily destroyed by the storm. The town is working toward rebuilding the pier, but again, these projects take time. 

Thanks for your cooperation and patience.

Enjoy the beach this summer and be safe!