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Nearly $60,000 in double red flag citations handed out in PCB

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 8:14 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City Beach Code Enforcement doesn’t mess around when double red flags are flying. If anyone’s out in the water swimming under those flags, they will be issued a $500 fine. So far, the citations have totaled nearly $60,000 since mid-March.

Yellow, purple, green, and even single red flags are all okay to take a dip in the Gulf with caution. But when you see a double red, it means the water is closed.

“We reserve that when we deem the conditions dangerous enough to be life-threatening for our visitors,” Panama City Beach Fire Rescue Beach Safety Director Wil Spivey said.

Panama City Beach Code Enforcement has given out more than 100 tickets from mid-March through the end of April to people swimming with double red flags flying. That number is still going up. On Tuesday, code enforcement issued another ten citations.

Panama City Beach Code Enforcement Manager James Tindle said he’s been handing out more tickets than usual this year.

“But we have more people here, which is a good thing. We want people to come visit our beautiful beach. But in return, want people to be safe and be aware of our flag system and be mindful that when the conditions are rough, we don’t want people swimming,” Tindle said.

Tindle said the goal of the citations isn’t to ruin anyone’s beach day.

“Our hopes are obviously to keep people safe and going back home to their loved ones,” Tindle said.

Beach Safety officials said no matter the flag, there are still things to keep in mind.

“Always respect the water. Swim near a lifeguard. It’s a great time of year to sign kids up for swim lessons,” Spivey said.

Spivey said the only exception to the double red flags rule is for experienced surfers with their boards strapped to their ankles.

And just because double red’s fly, doesn’t mean you have to go home. You can still enjoy the beach while staying on the sand.

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