Water covers more than 70-percent of the earth's surface and the precious resource was celebrated this Saturday during World Oceans Day. Gulf World in Panama City Beach hosted an array of organizations dedicated to teaching the community how to respect our environment.
From the sandy shore to the pristine waters, the ocean and all its "awesomeness" is why people are looking to Gulf World today to further their ocean knowledge. Event Coordinator, Stephanie Nagle hopes to share with the public what World Oceans Day is all about, "We want to kind of show them what to do and how to protect our oceans and educated them." Katie Williams, Environmental Specialists for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, baited listeners by speaking on many wildlife topics, "Ethical angling, proper catch and release techniques, we're teaching people how to de-hook and vent fish." Many organizations made their way to Gulf World including U.S. Coats Guard Auxiliary. Commander Greg Mote warned the community about swimmer safety, "You can't swim as long as you think you can and sometimes it can take an hour to two hours for rescue to get to you. Every incident we find they are not wearing a life jacket when they've drowned."
Because of commander mote, 12 year old Janita Strickland now knows the "in's and out" of a life jacket, "They have this stuff in here, like a light if I get lost, a mirror for the sun to catch, this a compass and this a whistle so they can hear me." Vendors stayed busy and Williams is thankful there is a national day that reminds about the importance of our worlds oceans, "They control our oxygen supply, they control transportation, so it's very important to take care of our oceans because in the end, they are going to give back to us as much as we give to them." The event drew a large turnout and Williams says it was successful if people left with a little more knowledge than they came with.