Memorial Day Weekend was a big one. Saturday started off like a normal busy weekend, but by Sunday afternoon we were at full throttle. There was a moment later in the day on Sunday that we were working a possible double drowning, a swimmer in distress that was rescued but had to go to the hospital because the victim was submerged briefly, a car wreck and multiple missing children.

We have six zones with a rescue truck assigned to each of them. Four of our six trucks assigned to zones were tied up for quite a while, leaving the rest of us to race around trying to cover all the regular minor issues.

Here’s a brief overview of our main statistics categories:

Preventative Actions (moving swimmers from danger but not making physical contact): 18,027

Rescues: 15 (three of these went to hospital because they were submerged before we got to them — all appeared to be in OK condition)

Medical responses: 24

Lost children reunited with parents: 16

Enforcement actions: 64

Beach water safety talk contacts: 4,235

Drowning death (body was recovered): 1

The drowning death at the San Luis Pass was a tough one. The man who drowned in the middle of the night was from a large Salvadorian community up in Houston and by mid-morning there were over 45 friends and family members on the beach.

I joined the Galveston Police Department and the Coast Guard to brief the family on the recovery, and then the Jesse Tree Survivor Support Network took over and provided shelter, sustenance and counseling until it was time for them to transition off the beach.

It’s an unimaginable thing for a family to deal with, but for me its comforting to work with such compassionate and professional people from the various groups that we work alongside. I think it made a big difference to the family as well in a time they most needed support.

Speaking of which, its impressive watching the police department doing so much on the West End with the mounted patrol and regular patrol. We also felt like all the various Park Board and city of Galveston groups that worked the weekend did a fantastic job. Kudos to Park Board Parks, Coastal Zone Management, GPD managed Park Board Security Detail and Seawall Parking Ambassadors. We also really appreciate the work done by the County CERT Team at the San Luis Pass, Wave Watchers, Jesse Tree Survivor Support Network, Galveston Fire-Police-EMS, Jamaica Beach Fire and Rescue, Coast Guard, and the Gulf Coast Search and Rescue Squad, who found the body.

Moving forward, Monday is our first day for the Junior Lifeguard Program and its not too late to sign up. We’re also looking at a new Lifeguard Academy to start on June 17. And, of course please save time in your busy schedule to join us for the annual Beach Patrol BBQ fundraiser on June 14.

Summer is definitely underway…

Thanks to everyone! Here’s to a good summer ahead.

Peter Davis is chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol. The views in this column are Davis’ and do not necessarily represent those of the Beach Patrol, Galveston Park Board of Trustees or any other entity.

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