I can see the justification now – “I’ve come 5 hours to see this beach, and I’m gonna swim whether some flag says I can or not. I paid for this trip, I should be able to swim.” The problem here, you see, is not that the “evil” police or safety patrol wants to spoil your fun, its that THE WATER IS NOT SAFE. This is nobody’s fault. This should be taken with a grain of salt. Whining and complaining about it is just as useful and crying when a baseball game gets rained out.
“The locals all know about the flags and how they work, and many of them swim. Then when the tourists come in, that know little about how it works, they see the locals swimming and figure its ok to get in.” One beach resident and business owner said today.
Do the tourists not know about it, or are they just choosing to ignore it?
In the shade behind the Ocean Towers Condominiums a Georgia man with his two sons said, “We know about the flags, we’re pretty much staying out. I’ll let the boys play at the [water’s] edge, but that’s about it.”
- Double Red Flag: Water Closed to Public
- Single Red Flag: High Hazard
- Yellow Flag: Medium Hazard
- Green Flag: Low Hazard
- Purple Flag: Dangerous Marine Life
Also a sign is displayed that says no lifeguard on duty, swim at own risk.
So far this year 10 people have drowned in our waters, according to the article in the News Herald this morning, including one man this morning. Is that a record breaker for our area? What is the most for one tourist year in Panama City Beach?
Maybe the media is spending too much time talking about the deaths, and not enough time on how to prevent them. I’ll start.
DO NOT ENTER THE WATER IF A RED FLAG OR DOUBLE RED FLAGS ARE FLYING. Why? BECAUSE YOU COULD DIE.
A little bold? Possibly, but are people listening? If you think you are strong enough to swim out of it, think again. I’d be willing to bet that all 10 that have lost their lives thought they were strong enough to “handle” the waters and that the double red flag conditions didn’t apply to them.
Again, I’ll reiterate what the flags mean.
WATER CLOSED TO PUBLIC – DO NOT GET IN THE WATER!!!
HIGH HAZARD – High Surf and/or Strong Currents
MEDIUM HAZARD – Moderate Surf and/or Strong Currents
LOW HAZARD – Calm Condition, Exercise Caution
DANGEROUS MARINE LIFE
People, this isn’t to ruin your fun, this is to save your life.