PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– The city of Panama City Beach is doubling down on its double red flag rule in an effort to keep the community safe.
Previously, the first offense for swimming in double red flag waters was a warning, a second offense resulted in a $250 fine, and then a $500.
As of Thursday, a warning may or may not be given to those swimming during double red flag conditions and the fine is now raised to 500 dollars, with the second offense resulting in a $1000 fine.
City manager, Tony O’Rourke, said the city has issued 80 citations in the past month, and hopes that the change will help to keep locals and tourists safe, as well as first responders who also risk their life to save others.
“We’re sending a strong message to the public we want to keep them safe and keep them from entering the water when it’s extremely dangerous, we also want to keep our first responders safe,” O’Rourke said.
The city also says the 500 dollar fine can be reduced to 250 dollars if you pay the fine within 20 days.