San Luis Pass

Signs warn against swimming and wading at the San Luis Pass County Park in Brazoria County on Friday, Aug 11, 2017. Two vacationers drowned on the Brazoria County side of the pass on Monday, marking four drownings this summer.

It’s good that government officials on both sides of the San Luis Pass are stepping up efforts to keep people from killing themselves by entering the treacherous waters that flow there, connecting West Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

At the same time, it’s bewildering that the government would have to invest so much time and effort attempting to convince people to act in what’s clearly their own best interest.

Four drownings this summer at the pass have prompted officials on both sides of the channel to increase efforts to stop people from swimming or wade fishing there.

Last week, local and county officials renewed calls for safety as they work to reinforce precautionary measures at the pass, which is known as one of the most hazardous fishing and swimming spots on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Two people drowned Monday near the Brazoria County side of the pass, and the Brazoria County Commissioners Court on Tuesday made it illegal for people to enter the water there.

The city of Galveston already prohibits that activity on its side between marked signage points.

The pass has always been known as a dangerous spot for fishing and swimming. Strong currents move through the channel between the island and a slender peninsula jutting from the mainland. The currents can change direction quickly, depending on the tide, and the moving water can also create steep drop-offs in the pass, which can be treacherous for people who are wading.

This year, three of the four drownings were in Brazoria County.

The last time there were so many drownings at the pass was 2013.

Four drownings occurred that year between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, prompting the city of Galveston to post warning signs on the beaches near the water, and for the Galveston Island Beach Patrol to station a lifeguard in the area on weekends.

Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis told a Daily News reporter Friday he’d spoken to officials in Brazoria County about putting up a flag warning system on their side of the channel and starting some sort of patrol there.

Sharon Trower, spokeswoman for the Brazoria County judge, couldn’t confirm that those efforts were underway, but said the county is committed to informing residents and visitors about the dangers of the pass.

Streamlining safety efforts between the county and the beach patrol would make safety enforcement in the area a little easier, Davis said.

The recent efforts are good, but there’s an inescapable core fact in all this: There’s only so much the government can, and maybe even ought, to do in attempt to save people from their own bad decisions.

About all the government can be expected to do in situations like this one is to make a good-faith effort to inform people about the dangers.

• Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206;

(8) comments

Jarvis Buckley

I sign simply starring how many people have drowned a the pass the last 10 years would serve the purpose. Cost under $100.00.

Jarvis Buckley

Stateing not starring. Sorry.

George Croix

Good article.
It's easier to heard cats than to save people from themselves.
The 'it'll never happen to me" and/or "nobody's gonna tell me what to do" reflexes kick in to too many people when anyone tries to warn them of danger.
Here's hoping they only get themselves hurt, and not anyone else.....

George Croix

Herd...close enough

Kelly Naschke

Herd as in the culling of?

Gonzalo Gonzalez

Hey, Jarvis, look at the pic at the beginning of the article. It does state that 10 people have died in this area since 2013. That could probably be updated to 14 this year and every year thereafter and it still won't help. People don't want to be told what to do.

George Croix

Herd as in trying to get 'em to go where you want 'em to go....

There is no shortage of people willing to prove Darwin correct....

Jarvis Buckley

Gonzalo you are right. Sure hope folks take notice.

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