BCSO Expects to Continue Flying Double Red Flags on PCB

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - A surfer is credited with helping a distressed swimmer back to shore at St. Andrews State Park.

Double red flags were flying all along Panama City Beach during the incident and with similar conditions expected over the next few days, the sheriff's office is reminding people of the dangers of swimming while those flags are posted.

Panama City Beach is known as the "World's Most Beautiful Beaches," but right now the waters are not as inviting.

"Anyone who is from this area knows how dangerous swimming in the Gulf can be," said Ruth Corley, BCSO Public Affairs Specialist.

Monday morning, the Bay County Sheriff's Office posted double red flags, meaning the water is closed to the public.

"The swimming conditions are the worst, their worst possible condition due to high surf, possibility of rip currents," said Corley.

Unfortunately, not everyone obeyed the warning flag system. By the afternoon, deputies assisted Bay County EMS in responding to a distressed swimmer call at St. Andrews State Park.

According to a report a surfer saw the woman struggling in the water and helped her back to shore.

When deputies arrived, the swimmer was out of the water, conscious and talking, but she was taken to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center.

"We want everyone to come here, have a great time and go home safely and that's why we post double red flags. It's not to take anybody's fun away, it's because it's extremely dangerous," said Corley.

Those who choose to risk it are not just endangering themselves.

"It's extremely dangerous for our trained professionals, water rescue people to go into the water and rescue people when they put themselves in harms way," said Corley.

Swimming while double red flags are posted is not only dangerous, you can also be arrested because it's a violation of county ordinance.

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