Double Red Flags Raised on Bay Co. Beaches

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Double red flags are flying along Bay County beaches today..

But that has not stopped several near-drowning accidents resulting in water rescues.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office changed the flags from single to double red around 2:30 p.m. citing weather as the main reason for the change.

A county ordinance means the water is off-limits when two red flags are flying. There's no swimming allowed until they're changed.

Bay County officials say people can be arrested if they violate the ordinance and get in the water.

Sheriff's deputies and Beach Police are working together to keep people safe..

But not all near-drowning incidents are reported, like the one two women witnessed near the City Pier.

"The waves were picking up, and a little boy got out there and a lifeguard came up and helped get him out of the water," Pennie Green, who is visiting from Tennessee, said.

"It wasn't very long, but it kind of seemed like a long time, because you're thinking, 'Oh my gosh, these kids! What are we going to do?'" Crystal Barnett, a visitor from South Carolina, said. "I'm just thinking, 'I'm about to see an ambulance come and retrieve a kid who's drowned in the ocean!' So, I was a little nervous for him."

Sheriff's deputies and Beach Police responded to at least 10 water rescues this afternoon, some even after they raised the flags.

They also sent a handful of people to the hospital.

Remember that conditions in the Gulf can change constantly.

Use your best judgement and stay safe on the beach this weekend.