South Gulf volunteers raise beach flags as tourist season begins

Spring Break has officially begun in Gulf County.

With Gulf County Schools students out of the classroom through the end of this week, the South Gulf Fire Rescue Flag Safety Team began a regular schedule of beach flag installation that they will follow daily through Thanksgiving weekend.

South Gulf’s Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Foy said that the team, made up of 75 regular volunteers, plays an important role in keeping Cape San Blas’s vacationers safe during peak tourist seasons.

“People are discovering this area and coming down here in a really big way,” Foy said. “We need to be able to provide some degree of protection, just to give them a heads up of what’s going on in the water.”

South Gulf County Fire Rescue has developed a Beach Safety Flag system of 25 flag stations that stretches from the Indian Pass boat ramp up to the state park at the tip of Cape San Blas, including 5 new flag stations that were installed on March 6. 

There are five different types of flag warning, each representing a potential water condition. Posted signage at the beaches indicates each flag’s meaning.

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According to Foy, the program is fully run by volunteers and fully funded by South Gulf Fire rescue’s 501 C-3 nonprofit.


Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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