Despite lifeguard staffing issues, Myrtle Beach company says safety will not be compromised

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The two companies that supply lifeguards for Myrtle Beach told the city’s Beach Advisory Committee Wednesday that they are struggling to find employees, but safety is “in no way compromised.”

The problem is being compounded by extremely large crowds on the beaches so far this season, particularly during the recently concluded Carolina Country Music Fest, according to representatives from Lack’s Beach Service and John’s Beach Service.

“They’re the biggest we’ve seen, almost to the point that it’s too much,” Weslyn Lack-Chickering of Lack’s Beach Service said, said adding that she even has managers out working on the beaches on a regular basis.

Lack-Chickering said her company is not fully staffed with lifeguards. But, she said, there is a beach attendant working with every lifeguard to make sure the lifeguards can stay focused on their jobs.

“It’s helping us cover a little bit more space,” she said.

There have been no major rescues needed so far this season, and Lacks-Chickering said they have a few more lifeguards coming, but “it’s not going to get much better. That’s the honest truth.”

Besides the large crowds, the problem is twofold, Lacks-Chickering and Nick Jackson of John’s Beach Service told the committee.

There have been problems hiring local workers, with not as many students willing to take jobs for the summer and an excessive number of workers who call off each day.  Plus, the companies say they haven’t been able to hire as many foreign workers this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got,” Jackson said, adding that everyone is “working really hard to pick up the slack.”

A city police spokesman said officers are always close by on mobile patrol to help out on the beaches when they’re needed.

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