South Gulf Fire Rescue has already rescued two stranded swimmers this Memorial Day weekend.
With more festivities to come this summer, officials urge beachgoers to exercise caution and use proper safety equipment.
“(The water rescue team) just got dispatched to their second one at Salinas Park,” said Gulf County Emergency Management Director Matt Herring. “It’s a paddleboarder in distress.”
“Yesterday, they had a 15-year-old kid on a kayak who fell off and had no life preserver on, and they had to go save him. Luckily, he was able to hold on to the kayak, but had he gotten separated from the kayak, that could have been a real situation too.”
In the north end of the county, search and rescue crews continue to search the Chipola River for the body of the victim of a probable drowning, which occurred after a man fell from his fishing boat on Saturday.
In the coming weeks, Herring said he would like to work with local fire departments, including South Gulf, to generate awareness of the importance of water safety and using proper flotation devices.
“We would like to encourage those out on the water to wear a personal flotation device, whether they’re kayaking, paddleboarding or boating,” Herring said. “We want our locals and visitors to be safe.”
Beach flags along Cape San Blas have been yellow and red for the past two days – indicating that their may be some rough surf and that beachgoers should exercise appropriate caution.