Panama City, FL –
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – A tropical depression in the gulf is expected to bring choppy waters to the gulf and has already prompted officials in Panama City Beach to change their flags to double reds.
Panama City Beach Deputy Fire Chief Justin Busch said on Friday they are warning people to stay out of the water even if it looks inviting.
“We’re looking at a possible 5ft swell tonight and tomorrow so to be proactive we went ahead and upgraded to double red to try and keep everyone safe. Our best effort is to be proactive with it, ”Busch said.
An exception to the double red flag ordinance is for experienced surfers, the keyword being experienced.
“They go out and get whatever they can and the fact that they’re on a flotation device and strapped in, they can be in the water without a fine or penalty,” Busch said.
However, Busch said lifeguards are able to spot small nuances that determine whether or not someone is an experienced surfer. If they feel they are inexperienced, a lifeguard will contact them and ask them to leave the water.
“We definitely advocate that the more experienced surfers be on the water during the double red flags,” said Busch.
And it’s not just security officials giving the warning, some surfers share the same sentiment.
“Anyone who doesn’t have a lot of surfing experience, if it’s double red flags, don’t go out,” said experienced surfer Winston Wakeford.
Wakeford said that while he loves to surf in these conditions, the water can intimidate him at times.
“All this water sucked under the pier is extremely intimidating, but it scares me at times like maybe I should get out or just walk away from the pier,” Wakeford said.
Busch said they will have more lifeguards patrolling the beaches during the storm. As a reminder, the waters are closed when double red flags are floating and there is a $ 500 fine for swimming in the Gulf when double red flags are floating.
As storm approaches Double Red flags fly in Panama City Beach Source link As storm approaches Double Red flags fly in Panama City Beach