Training, preparation of equipment, and all the little maneuverings needed to get this big bird off the ground are complete. All hands will be on deck and all 34 of our towers will be covered, all vehicles will be patrolling, and our 11 new candidates are graduated and ready to go.
This weekend we will see hundreds of thousands on the island, if the large spring crowds were any indication. As usual, your Beach Patrol will be ready for whatever madness this weekend brings, as will our entire safety network including Wave Watchers, Jesse Tree Survivor Support Network, Galveston Marine Response Group, Citizens Emergency Response Teams, Beach Parks, Coastal Zone Management, Parking, and Beach Security teams. We all provide an extra layer of protection, support, and response that supplements the common sense we hope our visitors and residents will provide for themselves and their families. Maintain situational awareness, or in “Galveston-ese”, “Don’t check your brain at the causeway!”
It’s been a rough Spring on the Texas coast which means deeper holes and channels caused by currents, so play it safe and stay closer to shore. Here are a few of the more important safety tips:
Swim near a lifeguard – each tower will be staffed every day for a double shift. We’ll be out there from early morning till dark, so we shouldn’t be hard to find. The guard is an added layer of protection though, and you are still responsible for your own safety.
Stay away from the rocks and structures – where there is a chance you could be caught in a dangerous rip current.
Avoid swimming or wading at the ends of the island – The San Luis Pass and the Ship Channel have very strong tidal flow. The water there is not only very dangerous, but they are illegal areas for swimming.
Don’t swim alone – your buddy can call or wave for help if you can’t.
Designate a Water Watcher – who has the sole responsibility of keeping an eye on your group while they’re in the water.
Don’t dive in headfirst – to avoid the chance of a head or neck injury.
Observe warning signs and flags – ours are all bilingual and use icons.
Non-swimmers and children should use properly fitted Coast Guard approved lifejackets when in or around the water – and everyone should wear a lifejacket when boating.
Alcohol and water don’t mix – most of the beaches here are alcohol free, but if you choose to drink, no glass and try to remember that, even though you feel invincible, you’re not.
Take precautions from the heat and sun – such as loose-fitting clothing and a hat, sunscreen with a high SPF, good sunglasses, and drinking plenty of fluid.
Above all, remember the beach is a wonderful place. Go have fun, and focus on family, friends, recreation, and making memories this Memorial Day weekend. Remember the men and women of the armed forces who laid down their lives to make our way of life possible, while taking a well-earned break from the grind. Just do it safely!
More information about rip currents can be found at the following websites: