From a story by Rick Caitlin in The Islander:
The Anna Maria City Commission agreed that this popular tourist destination does not have enough money to pay lifeguards to protect families using the city’s beaches:
The suggestion for lifeguards came after a 14-year-old boy from Winter Haven was caught in a strong current along the beach and died earlier this month.
Webb noted the city has signs posted at beach accesses advising people of possible rip currents and the risk of swimming without lifeguards.
Webb suggested the mayor have Sgt. Paul Davis, head of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation, look into the feasibility and cost of a flag at the city entrance denoting beach conditions, much like the flag posted at the Manatee Public Beach lifeguard station in Holmes Beach.
Flag colors signal various water conditions for swimmers.
Manatee County provides lifeguards at Coquina Beach and Manatee County Public Beach, but other beaches on the island, including those on Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria do not have lifeguard protection.
Anyone who is not a strong swimmer experienced with currents and surf should not swim on beaches without lifeguard protection.