It's a popular and important program with the goal of saving lives. And with 26 miles of beach and lifeguards stationed at only eight public beach accesses (click to see the list of eight), Beach Safety Director Gary Wise knows there are many long stretches of beach that go unguarded.
South Walton Fire District (SWFD) lifeguards will report to their towers at eight beach access points this Saturday, March 12, 2011 (see map).
On the beach right after the 4th of July Parade, these Grayton girls make the best of a mountain of stockpiled sand to be used to block the Western Lake outflow (more photos after the break).
A tarball cleanup crew was in view - a dozen or so men and women with (empty) crab nets. They looked pretty bored, but no doubt
were happy to be on the beach on such a fine day and getting paid for it. No tarballs were seen but they might have caught lunch. The beachgoers I talked to thought it quite odd that workers were present on a national holiday with no oil in sight.
For lodging providers in Walton County, collecting bed tax is just part of doing business. Explaining why the money is collected and where it goes is not part of the mission for the Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council, but it’s becoming an important aspect in the business of running the organization.
“We are misunderstood,” says Tracy Louthain, director of communications for the TDC. Given the chance, she explains not only the basics – how and why the TDC exists – but also what it does with all those bed tax dollars.
Flag Warning System - current flag conditions are posted daily each morning and afternoon at www.swfd.org. For current conditions and flag updates text “SAFETY” to 31279.