Why putting warning flags on Fort Morgan beaches is so complicated

Baldwin County

FORT MORGAN, Ala. (WKRG) — Two drownings in Fort Morgan this week — including the death of Deputy Bill Smith, who died saving another rescue swimmer — have many asking what more can be done to warn people about Gulf conditions.

“It becomes very complicated,” said Michael Ludvigson with Fort Morgan Fire Rescue regarding adding warning flags and lifeguards.

Fort Morgan is an unincorporated territory, so it’s not like one single group, entity or municipality governs the beach as a whole. Rather, it’s parceled out — homeowners and vacation rental properties owning some pieces, state organizations holding others, and so on.

“There are places that don’t really want to put up flags because of liability concerns. If I put up a flag and it’s the wrong color flag for the day, will we get sued?” Ludvigson said. The other question: Who will pay for this?

He says the county discusses this concern almost every year.

The most recent efforts were flashing rip current signs up and down Fort Morgan Road, and safety decals at some rental properties.

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