Dauphin Island installs flag system to help detect rip current
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The town of Dauphin Island is making sure visitors are safe by installing a new flag warning system on its beaches.
“It’s a pretty simple thing. A simple, low-tech thing, but one that gets the word out,” said Dauphin Island Public Safety Supervisor Troy Gorlott.
Dauphin Island installed a flag warning system about a month ago, to inform beach visitors about rip currents.
“The flag system is used along the coast, and with that we will be universal across the entire Alabama coast,” Gorlott said.
The flags flew on April 13, when a teenage girl and two other people were pulled out of the choppy waves. The girl later died in hospital.
Dauphin Island averages three drownings a year, and they want to bring that number down.
“When we have an incident it seems to be on the beach which involves rip currents and water safety. Flags are just another way to get the message out about rip currents and rip current safety to keep everyone having fun and staying safe,” Gorlott said.
There are four flags along the island: on East End Beach, one at Central Public, one on Bienville Boulevard towards the west end of the island, and one on West End Beach.
“Honestly, I think it’s important. There are so many people from out of town who come to Dauphin Island. You don’t want to go out and go home with one less family member,” said Mobile County resident Cambria Ramsey.
City officials said they wanted to put up the flags before the summer rush begins.
“It’s there, it’s low tech, it’s right there when you stop in the beach car park. If it protects a person, it’s fine,” Gorlott said.
The flags will be changed every morning at 7 a.m. You can also see rip current warnings on the city app, as well as the Dauphin Island Public Safety Facebook page, and there are numerous rip current warning signs across the island.
City officials said they will also put up signs explaining the meaning of the flags, which you can also see on the Public Safety Facebook page.
Gorlott said they would also increase beach patrols during peak hours. Gorlott said he wanted to educate visitors and swimmers about the dangers of the gulf.