Several recent drownings in South Carolina’s Grand Strand are leading aid groups to remind the public about safety around the pool, lake, beach or waterpark this summer.
American Red Cross of Central South Carolina swim instructor Duke Brown told South Carolina Radio Network there are various elements to prevent drowning. “Learning to swim, swimming with a buddy, swimming in a supervised area,” Duke said.
A Murrells Inlet teen drowned after a boat collision on the Waccamaw River last week, according to the Georgetown County Coroner’s Office. A week earlier, 33-year-old James Ross, II disappeared in the surf near Myrtle Beach State Park on May 18 after witnesses saw him struggling. His body was found two days later. Last month, a 7-year-old Georgia child drowned in a hotel “lazy river” at the Sheraton Broadway Resort.
Swimming in a river, lake or the ocean is not the same as swimming in a pool. “You have different depths of water, you have different objects in different bodies of water,” Said Duke. “Each body of water will have its own issues.”
Duke said, in the ocean, swimmers have to be aware of potential rip currents, especially whenever a storm is blowing past the coast. “Rips don’t take you down, it takes you out. This body of water flowing out of the channel flows faster than an Olympic swimmer.”
If you get caught in, one do not try to swim directly back to shore. “Lay back and let it carry you through the channel to what is called the head of the rip. That’s where the force of the rip starts to dissipate. At that point you can swim parallel to the beach and angle back in or wait for assistance,” Duke said.