WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Rough surf in Santa Rosa Beach kept lifeguards busy Wednesday while only one red flag hung.
The South Walton Fire District made many water rescues to help keep the beaches safe.
Since the beaches opened May 1, there have been over 30 serious water rescues, and Wednesday alone there were over 21 water rescues and public assists.
“People’s level of defiance, hostility and outright aggression towards our guards who are just trying to keep them safe has been unacceptable,” South Walton Fire District Beach Safety Director David Vaughan said.
Vaughan said many visitors and residents have not been taking safety precautions seriously, which is ultimately putting them at risk as well as bystanders and safety personnel.
“It’s a matter of life and death. we want people to come here,” Vaughan said. “They can be angry at us, but they need to go home safely. When we are flying double red flags, those are the conditions we do not want people in, even our people.”
Alan Killingswurth, who is visiting the area with his family, said he witnessed a rescue Wednesday morning.
“We’ve seen one rescue a couple of kids out on a board, they were high school kids, young high school kids,” Killingswurth said. “They weren’t good enough swimmers to be in that kind of water, and out there by themselves.”
Vaughan wanted to remind beach- goers to use common sense and think of their safety as well as others.
“We care about you and we want to keep you safe,” Vaughan said.