Kayak overcrowding in North Myrtle Beach gets attention of city council

Grand Strand

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Kayak congestion at the Cherry Grove Park has caught the attention of the North Myrtle Beach City Council.

On a typical summer day, Laura Weaver, who owns Glass Bottom Kayak Tours, and other kayak businesses set up around the Cherry Grove Park boat ramp, sees busy waterways.

“So while you’ll see this whole place covered in kayaks, that’s for two hours prior to low tide approximately, then they all go out,” Weaver said. “They’re out there for an hour and a half to two hours and then they all come back in, pack up and leave.”

City of North Myrtle Beach spokesperson Pat Dowling said the one kayak ramp there is too congested.

“They bring out all the kayaks and equipment and life preservers and things and just lay them out throughout the park, which makes it difficult for independent kayakers to come in and enjoy it,” he said.

Weaver said there are some companies who abuse the privilege by bringing kayaks over and waiting for people to rent them. She thinks the main issue is growth and that there should be more kayak ramps.

“I don’t really see it as a problem with kayaks as it is with growth,” Weaver said. “Everything is growing. The popularity of all these things is growing and we have to figure out as a community how to manage it for the businesses and the people that live here.”

Dowling said that’s exactly what the city is working on.

“We’re trying to find a way to make it possible for tours to continue but at a level and with control that make it possible for everybody else to do what they want to do,” he said.

In an email sent Wednesday night, the city said about six private companies use the boat ramp to launch kayak tours. The email says some of the businesses also use the boat ramp to complete transactions and for advertising the business location.

The city also said there have been issues with some tours taking up the whole waterway and not letting other watercraft move through.

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