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      Red flags warn swimmers to stay out of the ocean

      A surfer on the beach in North Myrtle Beach trying to surf on the waves caused by Hurricane Arthur

      Red flags have been put out along the beaches in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Horry County, Surfside Beach and Huntington Beach State Park, meaning no swimming is allowed.

      Public beaches in Georgetown County do not have lifeguards and therefore do not put our red flags or other swimming restrictions, according to the county website. Georgetown County asks swimmers to practice caution and swim at their own risk.

      Pat Dowling, the North Myrtle Beach spokesman, said the city's lifeguards went off duty as of 2:30 p.m. He said after that, all water-related activities should cease.

      Surfside Beach has red flags up for swimmers but is allowing surfers in the water, according to Lt. Kenneth Hofmann.

      Hofmann said the town is allowing the company it has a contract with for lifeguard services to make the decisions about allowing surfers in the water.

      The surfers "understand the risks," Hofmann said. But he said any regular swimmers are being taken out of the water.

      Myrtle Beach city spokesman Mark Kruea said the city "may allow surfers until conditions worsen" but he said a red flag does mean no one is allowed in the water.

      We will continue to post updates as we get them.