Have you ever wondered how the Panama City Beach flag warning system works?
We specifically wanted to learn how the process for changing the flags works, who’s in charge, and how is the flag color decided?
We contacted City Hall to track down who to speak to about it, and we were put in touch with Debbie Ward who was kind enough to answer our questions.
Who manages the beach warning flags in PCB?
There is a new process as of less than a month ago. Here is an overview:
- The city fire department manages the flag system, as of October 2019.
- Beach Rescue Division employees physically get in the water each day to evaluate conditions and make their own decision…usually about 9:30 AM.
- Flag changing starts at 9:40 AM and usually takes about 30 minutes and is done by 10:10 AM or so.
- When the physical flag updates are complete, the city queues an update to “Alert Bay” and the update is sent out via text. (You can sign up to receive these texts here.)
- Lastly, the flag status is updated at the pcbgov.com website.
Why are the beach flags on West End PCB sometimes different than what the text says the flag status is?
This is where things can get a little confusing for us on the West End.
- The city Fire Department is responsible for flags between beach access entrances 24-76 which includes 28 flags (not counting private flags)
- The city can opt to fly different flags than Bay County if they feel conditions warrant a different flag.
- Private flags may fly city or county at their discretion.
So, technically, the flags on West End PCB are changed by the Bay County Sheriff’s office, and they can be different than the city flags as we have seen this past summer. We haven’t been able to reach anyone yet at Bay County Sheriff to ask them about how their process works for changing flags, but we’ll update this post when we do.
How do you report broken PCB beach flags?
To report broken flags between Beach Access 24 -76, contact Debbie Ward or the Fire Department. For all other Bay County flags, contact the Bay County Sheriff’s office.
****** CITY INFO ******
850 233 5100
****** Bay County Info ********
Bay County Sheriff’s office controls the flags outside the city limits.
Bay County Sheriff
850 747 4700