Nobody who lives in South Carolina or plans a vacation to Myrtle Beach this summer wants to think about the risks of a drowning accident. However, a deadly drowning accident can happen in less than a foot of water, according to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While not all drowning accidents are fatal, victims of unintentional drowning accidents frequently succumb to their injuries. Since many of the most popular activities in Myrtle Beach involve recreation in and around the water, it is important to recognize some of the most common places in Myrtle Beach for accidental drowning to happen and to take proper precautions.

High Rate of Drowning Deaths in Myrtle Beach, SC

Given the high rate of drowning deaths in Myrtle Beach, SC, the American Red Cross recently launched a campaign to “reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent over the next three to five years in Myrtle Beach,” according to a report from NBC News. That report emphasized that Myrtle Beach was one of 10 cities selected for this campaign due to the very “high number of drowning deaths” in the area. Indeed, as the report points out, “Myrtle Beach’s drowning rate is more than double the national average.”

How many accidental drowning cases occur in Myrtle Beach every year? The article indicates that the Grand Strand Medical Center, an emergency care hospital in Myrtle Beach, alone sees anywhere from six to ten fatal drowning cases every year. When you examine the number of near-drowning cases in which victims require treatment in an emergency department, the Grand Strand medical Center treats around 100 victims annually.

In addition to drowning incidents that result in a victim immediately seeking treatment at the emergency department at Grand Strand Medical Center or another nearby facility, emergency room physicians at Grand Strand emphasize that beachgoers also need to be aware of the risks of secondary drowning. According to an article from WMBF Local NBC News, secondary drowning can be difficult to identify, but it can be deadly. Dr. Jon Pangia, Director of Emergency Medicine at Grand Strand Medical Center, explains that secondary drowning often involves “getting pulled under the water, feeling fine, but hours later, getting hit with the effects.” As the article clarifies, “it’s basically a delayed response of fluid getting into your lungs, which could cause breathing issues” and can result in death.

Identifying Common Locations for Unintentional Drowning Accidents

Where do most drowning accidents happen in Myrtle Beach? There are numerous spots along the Grand Strand that are popular with residents and vacationers alike during the summer months. According to, the Grand Strand sees more than 14 million visitors each year, and vacationers in the area enjoy the beach at various times of day and in many different capacities. As an article in Fodor’s Travel explains, the Grand Strand is “60 miles of white sand, stretching nearly from the North Carolina border in Little River and North Myrtle Beach south to Surfside Beach, Garden City Beach, Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, and Georgetown, with Myrtle Beach centered at the hub.”

Activities at each of these areas that could result in an accidental drowning include but are not limited to:

  • Swimming;
  • Sunbathing;
  • Sailing;
  • Surfing;
  • Hunting for shells;
  • Fishing;
  • Jogging; and
  • Walking on the beach.

And regardless of where you are staying in Myrtle Beach, you should know that any hotel or resort in proximity to the beach can be a fantastic place to vacation, but it can also be a common spot for an accidental drowning or near-drowning incident. A recent report from U.S. News & World Report highlights the following popular hotels, all of which see thousands of visitors each year. Not only are most of these hotels just a short walk from the ocean, but they also have pools, where drowning accidents can also occur:

  • Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes;
  • Marina Inn at Grande Dunes;
  • North Beach Plantation;
  • Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel;
  • Landmark Resort;
  • Marriott’s OceanWatch at Grande Dunes;
  • The Palms by Suite at the Beach;
  • Barefoot Resort & Yacht Club;
  • Admiral Motor Inn;
  • Anderson Ocean Club and Spa;
  • Atlantic Breeze Ocean Resort;
  • Club Regency in Regency Towers;
  • Dunes Village Resort; and
  • Royale Palms Condominiums.

While these hotels and other lodging options represent some of the most popular and commonly patronized locations in and around Myrtle Beach, unintentional drowning accidents can happen almost anywhere and without warning. Families with children should also be aware of drowning risks if they are visiting one of Myrtle Beach’s many waterparks, including but not limited to:

  • Family Kingdom Amusement Park;
  • Myrtle Waves Water Park; and
  • Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark.

Getting the Facts About Accidental Drowning Deaths in Myrtle Beach, SC

Did you know that, according to a fact sheet from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, drowning is listed among the top five causes of unintentional deaths in South Carolina each year? It is important for Myrtle Beach residents and visitors to think about drowning prevention anytime they are around the water. According to Dr. Pangia from Grand Strand Medical Center, the following are some safety tips for avoiding a deadly unintentional drowning incident:

  • Know the meanings of colored flags at the beach (e.g., a red flag means that you should stay out of the water);
  • Know the signs of dangerous waves and/or rip currents, such as water that is discolored, foamy, and/or choppy;
  • Know what to do if you are caught in a rip current (swim parallel to the shore);
  • Pay attention to the other people you are swimming with anytime you are in the water;
  • Recognize that children and adults can be at risk of drowning; and
  • Pay attention to your children and loved ones for hours after leaving the water in the event that signs of secondary drowning occur.

Discuss Your Case With a Myrtle Beach Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love sustains injuries in an unintentional drowning accident, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. You should discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC today. Contact the Joye Law Firm for more information about our services.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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