Lifeguards Lacking in Panama City Beach

By: Ashley Arnold Email
By: Ashley Arnold Email

If you're on the lookout for lifeguards on Panama City Beach, look no further than the city pier.

"If you have kids, if you just want to be safe on the beach, I think this is the best spot to be on the beach," said lifeguard Daniel Shelley.

But that post is the only spot where you'll find a lifeguard and they're only there from April 1st to September 30th, 10 am to 6 pm. The reason?

"There are cities and areas where they have lifeguards ever so often that they're covering an entire county," said Panama City Beach Aquatics Director Will Spivey, "That can be expensive and I think that's one of the things that's a factor - the expense. How do we cover this entire beach?"

Bay County Commissioner Mike Thomas agreed that the best form of safety is having lifeguards, saying it's something that would need a good deal of money to have.

"In order to have first rate water security, I think it's something you'd have to pay people year round to do," he said.

But how much would it cost?

"Several years ago, there was a study done. I think it was about $3.5 million to put a good life saving service out."

Money the area doesn't have to spare. So for now, the two lifeguards and city Beach and Surf Patrol will have to do.

"People want safety but they wonder how much safety they can afford," Thomas added.


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