PCB passes ordinance: $500 fine if you enter Gulf under double red flags.

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Emerald Drifter, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Fanatic

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  2. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    As with all laws, it is the enforcement of said laws. If those tasked with enforcement are unable to do so, for whatever reason, it is one more law on the books.
     
  3. Pura.Vida

    Pura.Vida Beach Comber

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    Agree. You would think that some things are to be "self-enforced". Although, I witnessed a mom allowing her young kids to play in "double-red flag" surf a couple of weeks ago. She told them to get out only b/c the PCB Sheriff was patrolling by. Really!?! Get out b/c the sheriff is coming; not b/c it's unsafe!?! #poorjudgement

    We may need an ordinance that says...no hunting in Deer Lake State Park!!! Because you never know!
     
  4. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Fanatic

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    You are right Bob, enforcement is key. But if this ordinance makes a mom or dad give pause before letting their kids into double red flag waters, it will be a great first step in getting visitors to respect the Gulf.
     
  5. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    At every Public Beach Access there is a sign explaining the Flag System that people seem to ignore on a regular basis. That said, how do you believe people are going to be aware of the new fines, so they take pause before going swimming in double red. Lifeguards constantly attempt to educate visitors as to the dangers and they are ignored. I hope it works but I am not very optimistic about it.

     
  6. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    The ordinance states that you get one free warning before a fine kicks in. I doubt this will change behavior too much.
     
  7. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Looks like a good thing to me. The law makes it consistent across all the Panama City Beach, city and county, with stronger enforcement.

    The ordinance gives both the Police and Fire departments authority to enforce the closed water rule.

    “We’re all excited about that. It’s been a long time coming. Anything to help. The tourists coming in here, just for safety and it’s not just for tourists. It’ll help our locals here,” City Councilman, Phil Chester said.

    It also adds more awareness throughout the businesses along the beach as they will be required to increase the closed water and flag system signage.

    The new ordinance will operate practically identical to Bay County’s ordinance.

    City Councilman Geoff McConnell said, ” Now that we have it for the entire 21 miles that we have of beach line, it’s going to be a nice seamless transition for both the police department and the sheriff’s office and it also gives us an added ability for the fire department to give civil penalties.”

    If a member of fire rescue enforces the law, after a warning, the second offense will result in a $250 dollar fine and the third is $500 dollars.

    While it exempt surfers, Councilman Paul Casto says he is still pushing for a flotation device to be made available.

    “We’re hoping to add two of the type 4 Coast Guard approved flotation devices that will be stationed at each commercial hut down on the white sandy beach,” Casto said.

    Alisha Redmon, who lost her husband in a drowning while he was trying to save others, says she too wants the addition of the resources.

    “I’m not a strong swimmer. I need that. I need that security. You told me not to do a human chain because you’re only as strong as your weakest link, then give me something to work with,” Redmon said.

    Casto said, “It’s been proven that people are going to go into the water to try and rescue people so the more flotation devices we have readily available on the beach, the more chances we will have of helping people.”

    The council agreed to discuss this topic more and possibly amend the ordinance at a later date.

    The police and fire department can now start to fine and arrest people who disregard the rules during double red flags.

    The businesses, however, will have until next season before the ordinance effects them.

    The PCB City Council is also hosting a Beach Safety Public Workshop on Tuesday, August 13 at 1:00 p.m. inside the Lyndell Conference Center. The Bay County Commission and TDC are also apart of the event.



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  8. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Fanatic

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    I'm not optimistic either Bob. The greatest advantage of the ordinance is that it gives the responders/officers SOMETHING to discourage those that insist on going in. It has to be frustrating for them as it has been.

    But, two ideas:

    1. Add a third flag under the two double reds. Red flag with the words "$500 FINE" in the largest print possible. That's all that's needed. Most people will understand what it means, and then there's the folks who ask "what does the $500 Fine about?", whereby a lifeguard, resident, etc. can explain it. For the "rules don't apply to me, I AM on vacation" folks, you can string barbed wire along the water's edge under double reds and they will go in. I vote we make Tshirts for them with the words "Future Floater".

    2. Walton County pass a similar ordinance.
     
  9. stone packard

    stone packard Beach Lover

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    Why are surfers exempt?
     
  10. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Walton already has an ordinance I believe. I do not know what the fine is but it seems Jason Aldean was stroked a ticket that cost him $100, if the news can be believed.
     
  11. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    So Bob, would you like to reopen discussion on what happened on July 3rd, 2018 at Grayton Beach regarding one's reliance on the flag system? Or would your job be threatened for doing so? If you don't want to reply, I understand.

    Click for thread.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  12. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    I do not remember the call. But as you have brought it up again I will venture a guess you haven't discussed the incident with the Beach Safety Director. David Vaughn 8502671090, he is there Monday through Friday and I can assure you he would be in a better position to answer your question than I. I will also say this, the SWFD is pretty transparent in their dealings. I will be there Friday, you are more than Welcome to stop by and I will give you a tour of the Department.
     
  13. enfuego

    enfuego Beach Lover

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    I would venture to guess the same or did not get the answers they may have been looking for to align with their beliefs.
     
  14. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    When I looked back on the thread one thing stood out to me, he asked the lifeguard who was there that day about the incident that happened another day. I don't know if they rotate folks to different towers or if they were even in duty on the day in question.
     
  15. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Respectfully, it’s not needed to call the number you suggest as it appears you don’t want to open up a dialogue on the beach flag system with me regarding the events on July 3rd, 2018. I’m fully aware as to what occurred that day. And again, I think I understand why you won’t engage me and respect that.

    For the others...
    I have a problem with all this cheerleading for a $500 government fine when someone enters the water under a double red flag.

    On the flip side, rhetorically speaking, should the county be fined $500 when one person drowns (and almost two others) because the flag system was more than COMPLETELY WRONG that day?

    There was no mention of the drownings in the July 2018 SWFD Activity Report or their Facebook page or the local papers. I expect and demand more in the future from SWFD and our local press. Let the public be fully aware that nothing’s perfect and that one can still drown even with all of the flags, lifeguards and other precautions in place out there.
     
  16. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Well then, you know more than I do about the day and the issues. We can talk all day about beach flags but there will be nothing accomplished because those who handle them are more knowledgeable about them than I.

     
  17. enfuego

    enfuego Beach Lover

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    Agree. I stand by observation.
     
  18. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Fanatic

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    Because, technically, a surfboard is a flotation device. Plus, under double reds, surfers will most likely have on the leash.
     
  19. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Fanatic

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    OK....then, please, offer your solutions for how to keep unaware, and/or "rules dont apply to me" people that insist on going in the water under double reds which have a higher probability of needing rescue and thereby endangering the rescuer.

    Fines are usually put in place to discourage certain behaviors, i.e. speeding.
     
  20. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    It's not just the fine. According to the article fire department, police and beach safety personnel are given the responsibility of enforcing the rules. PCB is doing the best thing for their beaches and are working together to make sure that they implement it as part of their beach safety programs in a unified manner. We've watched PCB make a difference in their beach town with spring break rules etc. Good for them. They don't have customary use issues. I'm not sure about beach vendor takeovers. Sounds like they are doing good things.
     

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