Florida visitors as well as residents could get arrested if they don’t heed the signs on certain beaches in the Panhandle, indicating the beaches in the Bay County area are closed. Officials say it’s for the safety of beach goers and for those risking their lives to enter the rough waters to rescue swimmers in distress.
Just this past Monday, the Bay County Sheriff’s office responded to more than 40 calls of people in the water when double red flags were posted, signifying the beaches were closed. That includes one man who was saved by two deputies, and both the swimmer and one of the deputies were sent to the hospital. So, county sheriff’s office spokeswoman Ruth Corley says it’s important the public heed the signs.
“Entering the water to swim during posted double red flags is a misdemeanor in Bay County, and you can be arrested. Those who enter the water during times of high hazardous conditions, not only place themselves at risk, but they also risk the lives of those who enter the water to rescue them. So, please, during double red flag days, do not enter the water,” said Corley.
"High surf and strong currents with an increased likelihood of rip currents are making it too dangerous to swim."
Corley says so far, no deputy has arrested anyone for swimming where double red flags are posted.
Most recently, there were now single red flags posted, meaning there are hazardous swimming conditions. Corley says beach goers, in that situation, enter the water at their own risk.
***Update: As of 4:50 p.m., double red flags have been posted for beaches in Bay County.
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