Bay County Sheriffs Deputies say they are not afraid to enforce an ordinance that has been in effect since 2008. It is unclear whether visitors are simply unaware of this county ordinance, or they are just not taking it seriously. But, there is a law in place.
Swimming in the unincorporated gulf waters of Bay County when double red flags are displayed is unlawful.
David Arthur, a Beach Vendor on Thomas Drive, says he wishes people were held more accountable. He says, "If people allow people to get in the water, like kids, their family should be cited or ticketed. Somebody needs accountability. If not, its going to continue and continue and continue and its going to get worse and worse and we're going to have more drownings and I've seen too many already."
People like David Kellems from Dallas Texas feels differently.
"We take a lot of the precautions and make sure that we're watching each other when we're out there in the water, but we want to be in the water. We came here to enjoy the water. We want to be in the water," says Kellems.
However their perception of the strong rip currents is often times what gets out-of-towners in trouble. Kellems says, "Great conditions. The water is clear, it's blue!"
According to Kellems, they're spending entirely too much money to not go swimming in the gulf. Kellems says, "We spend about probably nine thousand dollars for the week into the economy in Panama City Beach and we don't agree with bay county sheriff department issuing citations."
Major Ford says, "If they choose to ignore those warnings, unfortunately they may also have to research what funeral costs are; because our gulf is the most beautiful asset we have, but it can also, under certain conditions, be very dangerous."
"There is a beach flag system and they need to learn it and go by it. If not, they need to be held accountable. It's that simple," says Arthur.
Again, even though the ordinance has been in place for five years, no citations have been given out.