MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – This holiday weekend marked the last busy weekend for water rescue patrols in Myrtle Beach.
Last year, we told you crews were busy all summer with several drownings in the ocean.
“Last year, by the beginning of July, we had already had 8 drownings, and then after that I think there were still another 4 or 5,” said Lt. Jonathan Evans with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue.
In response, Myrtle Beach fire rescue crews beefed up their teams along the beaches and invested in life saving equipment.
“We’ve added personnel for one. We started with about 20 last year and we got another 10 through. We’re going to get another class through this year as well. We’ve had some new equipment like the UTV and the Colorado which has helped us be more effective on the beach,” said Evans.
So far this year, Evans says they haven’t had one person drown in the ocean.
“We’ve gotten very lucky this year with a couple of the saves we’ve had. We just had somebody close – ‘hey, there’s somebody out there you need to go’ and the guys got there just in time,” said Evans.
Evans says they’ve worked closely with the lifeguard companies and Myrtle Beach Police to have more than 100 people patrolling the Myrtle Beach shoreline during the day.
It was expected to be one of the busiest summers yet for tourism, and Evans says they prepared for that and added more people during busy holiday weekends.
“I think it’s helped having those extra patrols on those weekends and obviously there’s certain spots where the bigger hotels are where it just gets a little more crowded, and so it’s good to have those extra eyes there,” said Evans.
Evans says crews will help out for another two weekends.
He says they’ll look at the success they had this year and start making plans for next.