Summer is close! The water is getting close to 80 degrees and the early crowds we saw this spring have not slacked off. And we just graduated an amazing new group of Wave Watcher volunteers! Apart from an intermittent smattering of man-o-war and some wind, the conditions have been nice. Looking at the calendar, it seems that everything will hit at once in May. The next lifeguard academies, La Izquiera Surf/Music Festival, Night Swim, Galveston Marine Response Mass Casualty Exercise, and Memorial Weekend are just weeks away, to name a few.

The high season city beach ordinances go into effect soon which apply from May 15th to Labor Day. The one that impacts the most people is the “Multi-Use Ordinance”, which affects surfing and any other non-motorized, hard bottom craft, such as kayaks, kite-boarders, wind-surfers, etc. During the majority of the year, these are only prohibited within 300 feet of the 61st and 91st street fishing piers. Starting May 15th, there are restrictions of these activities from the shoreline to 50 yards from shore, which is the designated swimming area, in certain parts of the beach front. The areas affected are several, but the big one is from 53rd to 61st street. This is a tough one for surfers, as 61st street is a good surf spot. For the summer, surfing is prohibited on the popular east side of the pier and, as always, 300 from the west side. Things have been dicey on the east side this spring with a number of good surf days. Fortunately, the pier management, as well as the pier users and surfers, have tried to accommodate each other and there have been few problems. Historically, it’s been more difficult since Hurricane Alicia in ’83. The pier was rebuilt shorter than its original footprint and sand re-nourishment projects have effectively shortened it even more. Pre-Alicia there was generally a lot of room between the surf zone on normal day and the “T” of the pier. Now the surf breaks in the same area as the good fishing, so everyone is closer together. More details on these seasonal ordinances can be found by going to our website and clicking the link to “Galveston Municipal Codes- Chapter 8 Beaches and Waterways” or you can view them on the back of the towers.

Our next lifeguard tryout is Monday, May 1st and it will be followed by another on Saturday, May 13th, which is designed to accommodate people still in school. If you know anyone interested that you think has the right stuff, check our website for info. Candidates are paid minimum wage to go through 100 grueling hours of training before being allowed to work a tower with a starting pay of $20 per hour if you work at least 500 hours. Once we get through Memorial Weekend there are a couple of weeks until the Junior Lifeguard Program Starts and we’re in full swing.

So…Here we go. See you on the beach!