Changes to Myrtle Beach flag warning system to save lives

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A new flag safety system will be implemented this summer on Myrtle Beach shores. While beach flags have been used in the past to warn swimmers of rough water or to ban swimming in dangerous conditions, two new flags will be used starting Saturday.

Lifeguards can now display a green flag or a double red flag to help people on the beach understand what’s happening in the water. Signs are posted at lifeguard stands and will be posted at beach accesses to educate beach-goers on what each flag color symbolizes.

  • Green Flag: Safe swimming conditions
  • Yellow Flag: Medium hazard to warn swimmers of possibly large waves (used most frequently)
  • Blue Flag: Warns swimmers of marine life, like jellyfish, in the water near the shore
  • Red Flag: Strong rip currents are present and swimmers should not venture far into the ocean if at all
  • Double Red Flag: No swimming

Libor Jedlicka, quality control and training manager with Lack’s Beach Service, says the new coding is more specific for people and will hopefully cut down on the number of water rescues for lifeguards.

“It makes our job easier because now, instead of having one blue flag for multiple different conditions, whenever we put up a blue flag, people know exactly what to expect,” explains Jedlicka.

Lt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach Police says while the signs posted at the lifeguard stands and beach accesses did cost several thousand dollars, it will create consistency with neighboring beaches that use a similar system. The new flags will also give people on the beach a more specific idea of possible dangers.

“By having this new flag system with the additional signage, it’ll make the beach-goers aware of what these conditions are so they can make the extra precaution to be safe while they’re visiting the beach,” voices Lt. Crosby.