The Myrtle Beach area has miles and miles of gorgeous coastline to enjoy the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. Tourists and residents alike love to come down to the waterside and into the water to walk, sunbathe, swim, fish, surf, or enjoy a pleasure cruise on a boat. There are no less than eight major piers in a 60-mile stretch, from Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach all the way down to the Garden City Pier in Garden City. There are also numerous marinas and docks, both public and private, where locals and visitors love to rent boats and enjoy pleasure cruises when the weather is right.
Slip and Fall Hazards on the Dock or Pier
Being near the ocean unfortunately does come with its share of risks that everyone, whether experienced hand or green tourist, should be aware of. What would be a serious but survivable slip-and-fall injury on land can quickly turn deadly when on or near the water. Whether you’re on the marina dock or walking out on a pier, some of the hazards to look out for include:
- Uneven surfaces. Potholes or cracks in concrete or asphalt, old wood planks, or loose decking can make it easy to miss a step and tumble into the ocean.
- Lack of sturdy handrails. Many areas may not have handrails, or handrails may have fallen into disrepair.
- Slick patches. Avoid standing water or wet patches as much as possible, as some surfaces that look dry can be deceptively slick when exposed to even a little bit of moisture.
- Disrepair. Look out for loose or rotting decks or excessive gaps between wood planks that can catch a foot or even break away completely, sending you plunging into the water below.
- Dockside debris. Items such as fishing equipment, tools, ropes or other cordage, and even haphazardly placed safety gear can be a tripping hazard when improperly left in a public throughway.
Keep an eye out for appropriately-placed signage that may indicate hazards, though such signage may not be readily visible or even posted at all, and make sure that your footwear is non-slip to stay as safe as possible and enjoy your trip by the ocean.
Other Oceanside Risks
Aside from the risk of a dangerous slip and fall accident, there are a few other safety hazards you should be aware of when you’re on, in, or near the water at a dock or pier. One of the most important tips is to remember to stay out of the water near docks and piers. There are a few reasons for this:
- Rip currents can drown you. Any structure that’s in the open ocean can cause furiously strong underwater currents, called “rip currents” or “riptides.” That includes near docks, piers, or jetties. Rip currents can quickly suck an unprepared swimmer out into the deep ocean, and account for the majority of ocean rescues. If you are ever caught in a rip current, swimming directly into shore will be impossible; you’ll quickly tire out without making progress shoreward. Instead, experts recommend swimming diagonally along the beach. Signal for help if you need it.
- Waves can crush you. Along with the risk of an outward rip current, there’s the risk of strong, unpredictable waves near piers and docks that can quickly shove you towards structures, crushing you against them.
- Fishing people may hook you. Many piers allow people to fish from the ends, and you never want to swim near where people are fishing. You risk entanglement in lines, nets, traps, or being hit by a hook cast from when a fishing person can’t see you.
Millions of people safely enjoy their time around the water in Myrtle Beach, so don’t let these safety precautions stop you from having a great vacation. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, just remember to stay situationally aware and prepared whenever you’re near the water, and your trip will likely turn out just fine.
Get Legal Help After a Dockside Injury
Sometimes, no matter how safe and prepared we are, accidents still happen due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else. When you get hurt and it’s not your fault, it’s likely that you’re owed money to take care of your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, suffering, and more. Consider obtaining the services of a skilled personal injury lawyer to help you recover financially.
Ready to talk to an experienced attorney about your waterside injury case? Reach out to the Law Offices of Kenneth E. Berger today for a free case evaluation at 803-790-2800. Our offices are conveniently located in Columbia, and we proudly serve from all across the state of South Carolina.