All the preparation is done. The equipment is ready, the planning is over, and the time for preparation transitions to the time for action. We are a little light on new guards, but enough dedicated experienced guards are coming back and working the holiday. All 32 of our towers will be covered, all vehicles will be patrolling, and our 11 new candidates are graduated and ready to go.
This weekend will see hundreds of thousands on the island. But we’ll be ready for whatever madness this weekend brings, as will our partners in the Wave Watchers, Jesse Tree Survivor Support Network, Police, Fire, EMS, Sheriff Office, County CERT Team, Beach Parks, Coastal Zone Management, and Parking teams. We all provide an extra layer of protection, support, and response, but ultimately our visitors are primarily responsible for their safety and well-being.
It’s been a rough Spring on the Texas coast, so play it safe. So, this weekend if you’re going to the beach or anywhere near the water, remember it’s easy to let down your guard when you’re recreating. Here are a few of the more important safety tips:
Swim near a lifeguard– every tower will be staffed every day for a double shift. We’ll be out there from early morning till dark, so 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– 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, 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 non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages.
Remember not to “Check your brain at the causeway” and maintain situational awareness.
Above all, remember the beach is a wonderful place. Go have fun, and focus on family, friends, recreation, and making memories. Remember the soldiers who made our way of life possible while taking a well-earned break from your routine with friends and family. Just do it safely!