MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. – Beachgoers in Manatee County now have a new flag warning system to let them know about conditions in the water before they even get to the beach.
Starting Thursday, different colored flags will be put up at two fire stations within the county, to alert people to any warnings on island beaches. The fire stations are: Fire Station No. 1 at 6001 Marina Drive on Holmes Beach, and Fire Station No. 2 at 10350 Cortez Road in Bradenton.
Lifeguards will work with firefighters to change the flags as necessary. The flags will indicate high hazard surf to moderate conditions.
"There are a lot of residents and visitors that don't go to the public beach where lifeguards fly the flags; they go to any number of public access points with no lifeguards. And so they can see what the conditions are as rated by a professional,” says Battalion Chief Rich Jasinski of West Manatee Fire Rescue.
The flag warning system came about after a 13-year-old boy drowned last year in the gulf off Manatee County.