Why Now?
Saturday, July 23, 2005
  Lions and Tigers and Bears
Because hurricanes and shark attacks aren't enough, ABC has decided to publicize: Dangerous Currents Stalk Florida Panhandle.

Yes, there are rip currents. Yes, rip currents can be dangerous if you shouldn't be in the water in the first place.

A group is trying to convince the Walton County commission to provide lifeguards on the beaches. Walton is the county directly to the east of me. The advocates claim, mistakenly, that Walton makes millions of dollars from the tourists and should provide lifeguards.

Walton provides the state-wide colored flag system to warn of water conditions, but they don't have the money to hire lifeguards. The county is not wealthy and the development along the beaches is new. The people who live in the northern three-quarters of the county are not going to agree to an increase in their taxes to pay for lifeguard service. The people who live on the Gulf know better than to swim when there are rip currents.

I have swum in the Gulf and have been caught in rip currents. Rip currents are a real pain and require a lot of swimming you probably didn't want to do, but the Gulf is warm salt water and it is not a great feat to float until you are clear of the current and then go back to shore with the waves.

Lifeguards aren't a replacement for common sense. If there are large red flags on the beach, don't go into the water.


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