Multiple Double Red Flag days have safety officials on high alert

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. — Beachgoers in Bay County haven’t been able to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico for multiple days due to high rip currents, forcing officials to fly double red flags.

“Double red flags is a dangerous situation. We use it for life-threatening conditions,” said Carol Wagner, Panama City Beach Beach, and Surf Patrol Supervisor. 

Wagner says she and her team decide the level of safety each morning before deciding what flag is raised. “We, ourselves, will get in and test the water and make sure we have the appropriate flag flying for the day,” said Wagner.

She says despite ones who take the risk, double red flags close all depths of the water. “We suggest you don’t even get in knee deep. People mistake going knee deep is safe and the flag system states clearly that it closed.”

Wagner also says, sometimes their biggest concern actually come from the smallest people. “Kids are our main problem. Parents assume the kids can just play along the shoreline, not realizing that the water will come up to their waste in a hurry.”

For all who are unaware of how the flag system works, Wagner explained what each of the flags means. 

“Double red, which is the waters closed. We have a single red, which is a high hazard. We have a yellow flag which is caution and we have a green flag which is calm and then we have the purple flag, which stands for marine life.”

Wagner says the main goal she and her team has each day to keep themselves and all beachgoers safe, both in and out of the water. 

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