World's Most Beautiful Beaches

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Are the world's most beautiful beaches going to become the world's most dangerous beaches? It's not as though people just started drowning in rip currents off the coast of the Panhandle, but as Panama City Beach Mayor Lee Sullivan explains, with every drowning, the frustration mounts.

"When the reality of going and getting somebody is right there and they're either alive or dead and people walk around them and go into the water, not until you understand the dynamics of that, you don't understand what the problem is," says Mayor Sullivan.

The problem: people will continue to get in the water despite all of the warnings. County Commissioner George Gainer says hitting swimmers in the wallet could be more effective.

"If they understand that they could be fined if they go out into the Gulf when they shouldn't in unsafe conditions, I think they'll say: what does that mean or I got fined last week," says Gainer.

The executive director of the Tourist Development Council understands the effect of negative publicity, but he too is just frustrated.

"I don't know of any other way to correct the problem, unless you pull them out and provide some significant fine that would say: we're serious about telling you to get out of the water."

Mayor Sullivan says a fine would be great, but it's not likely.

"When you make that decision to go in there and you cause other people to risk their lives, see I think that's wrong, I think that's bad; but that'll never happen."

While most agree, it's hard to direct blame for any drowning. It's also hard to ignore when it continues to happen.


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