PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Keeping the beaches safe is always a number one priority for Panama City Beach officials.
Now thanks to a partnership between the city and area hotel more lifeguards will be on the sand next season.
Royal American Hospitality Vice President, Michael Greer, said just having lifeguards at the county and city piers is not enough. He said change should’ve happened a long time ago with the increasing tourism revenue each year, but now he is happy to get the ball rolling.
“We’ve had internal conversations to see how we can provide life safety on our beach,” Greer said. “Several years back we started having conversations with the city and the fire department with whoever we could talk to about a public-private partnership.”
The Boardwalk Beach Resort will be the first beachfront hotel to enter into this agreement with Panama City Beach. Starting next season there will be lifeguards posted behind the resort. This is an agreement the city has been trying to advertise since 2019.
“They are going to be managing the program and we are going to provide the property,” said Greer.
How the partnership works is the city will provide two lifeguards to patrol the beaches then the hotel will be expected to provide all the equipment needed to do the job such as the towers, radios and binoculars.
This will cost the resort about 130-thousand dollars initially for the equipment and labor.
Greer said if this saves at least one life it’s worth it.
Panama City Beach council member, Paul Casto, said this is a good day for the beach, and will create a domino effect.
“This public-private partnership I’m hoping will be contagious and the other businesses will join in and provide lifeguards behind their business,” Casto said.
The lifeguards will be behind boardwalk beach resort from April to October.
City officials say resorts that are interested can contact city hall.