Sunny weather, seaweed and increased traffic greeted island visitors on Saturday, as Galveston police increased patrols near beaches and the U.S. Coast Guard cautioned swimmers to stay safe.

Crews have worked overnight to clear seaweed accumulating on some Galveston beaches, with thousands of people expected to visit the island during Memorial Day Weekend. Operators of the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry warned of increased wait times to accommodate visitors headed to the Bolivar Peninsula.

The Galveston Police Department has ramped up specialized patrols to accommodate the influx of visitors, and will continue to do so on weekends throughout the summer, Sgt. Joshua Schirard said.

Officers have already noted an increase in alcohol-related incidents, and will take extra steps to ensure public safety, he said.

Police will have a steady presence on Seawall Boulevard and near the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry, and will rely on mounted officers to increase enforcement downtown. Officers will use all-terrain vehicles to patrol East Beach and the area near the San Luis Pass, Schirard said.

On Saturday, a U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer passed out pamphlets at the San Luis Pass to warn visitors about the dangers of swimming in the hazardous waters. 

The San Luis Pass is known for unpredictable and swift currents, and seven people drowned while swimming there last summer. 

Southbound traffic on Interstate 45 backed up near the Tanger Outlets in Texas City after a rollover accident at about 2 p.m. The accident was cleared in about an hour, according to Houston TransStar.

Texas City police did not immediately respond to messages left about the accident.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.

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