Beach Council Looks at Lifeguards and Overcrowded Houses

Panama City Beach is known for having the world’s most beautiful beaches, but not necessarily the safest.

Panama City Beach Mayor Lee Sullivan is hoping to change that perception with a new plan he introduced at Thursday’s city council meeting taking the first step towards bringing the city lifeguards.

Sullivan says for the past year he’s been working on a plan to bring Panama City Beach lifeguards. The plan calls for full time lifeguards to serve the city’s public beaches, starting with at the city pier.

The lifeguards will fall under the supervision of the Fire Department and work year-round.

You may be feeling the benefits even if you don't use Panama City Beach. Sullivan believes by putting lifeguards on the city's public beaches it will put pressure on the rest of the county to follow suit.

“But I'm confident that the fire chief and mayor and everyone else working together to come up with a quality program that’ll stand well. I believe that if we can set a standard and shows that this thing works, not only are we well served on our property but the whole beach will be well served.”

The City Council voted to approve plans to research the idea of hiring lifeguards and hopes to hear the preliminary results next month. This means a vote on new lifeguards may not be far behind.

In the meantime, the Beach Council also addressed the house over crowding issue. The City Council voted unanimously in favor of drawing up an ordinance banning people from renting in a single family zoned area for more than six months.

The ordinance, which also requires at least 200 square feet of living space per person, mandatory garbage collection and enough parking for all occupants, is expected to take affect sometime next year.