Safety Tips for Swimming by the Pier

We have all heard once or twice not to swim by a pier, but what is the exact reasoning for this? While movies and TV shows have made it look fun to jump and splash around these structures, there are many underlying dangers. For one, many pier jumpers will face legal consequences. In Horry County, for example, there is a law in place for all swimmers to stay out 50 yards of any Myrtle Beach fishing pier.

The main concern, and reasoning for these laws, is fear of sharks. Although a shark’s feeding time is typically early in the morning or late in the evening, the constant flow of fishermen fuels the food supply for shark species such as spinner, blacktip, bull, and tiger. Instead of having to search the ocean for their next meal, many sharks know that the fishermen are dumping bait and injured fish into the water around the piers. This means less scavenging for the sharks, and more time spent eating the yummy snacks provided right off the dock.

Another concern is the height of many piers. Sometimes, hitting the water from a high jump can be just as hard as concrete depending on the way somebody falls. Some pier jumpers have been severely injured from landing on their back, knocking their air away, or breaking a limb needed for swimming. Injuries can cause problems for many swimmers trying to get back up for air. Piers and other similar structures cause riptides and various currents that pull you away from shore or may just pull you under. Even skilled swimmers have been known to struggle in these areas around the pier.

Although a dangerous place to swim off of, the pier can still be utilized for beachgoers alike. Stroll along and enjoy the sun setting off of the Carolina coast or take a break from the waves and grab a bite to eat at one of the beachside restaurants. The best way to avoid getting in trouble is to enjoy the pier from outside the water.   

–  By Olivia Dimatteo, blog contributor for Garden City Realty

Click Here to view additional information regarding Beach Rules and Regulations in Horry County.

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