FLORIDA (WMBB/ABC) - As the summer winds down and the water temperature rises, rip currents grow stronger and become more of a hazard for swimmers.
Around 1:45 Friday afternoon, double red flags went up on Panama City Beach signaling that no one is allowed in the water. The Bay County Sheriff's Office alone responded to 22 calls of swimmers in distress, and the Panama City Beach Police Department responded to 23.
Bay County Sheriff's Office Major Ricky Ramie said the best way to keep yourself safe is to follow the flags.
"Pay attention to the flag system. As soon as we can let our swimmers in the water, that is our goal... to go back to a single red and hopefully yellow eventually but for the next 24 to 48 hours we're gonna have low pressure in the gulf which is stirring it up," said Major Ricky Ramie.
If you are trapped in a rip current it is best to swim parallel to the shore and try to not swim against it.