A recent accident on Seawall Boulevard should remind locals, as well as spring break visitors, that while beaches can be a fun place to spend a weekend day, it also comes with risks.
Earlier this week, a 7-year-old boy suffered minor injuries after being struck by a truck on Seawall Boulevard. The child was struck when he walked out into a traffic lane, police said. Fortunately, the child’s injuries were not life-threatening.
The incident should be a reminder to both young and old, traffic tends to increase along seawall during the spring and summer. But, still we have seen people trying to dodge traffic as they go to and from the beach instead of using the crosswalks.
That’s one risky area. The other is the beach and the Gulf.
One of the biggest dangers found in the water near Galveston’s beaches is rip currents. A rip current is a horizontal current that pulls people away from the shore. Drowning deaths occur when people pulled offshore are unable to keep themselves afloat or swim to safety.
Fortunately, the island has an excellent lifeguarding service in the Galveston Beach Patrol, which will be stationed in towers all along the main beach front during spring break. So, be smart and swim near a lifeguard.
As Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis pointed out, there also are two other risky areas — the danger of hypothermia, and the ends of the island. Even with the rise in temperatures earlier in the week, even swimming in warm water for a long period of time can drop your body temperature.
The third thing you really want to watch for is on both ends of the island. The tidal flow bottlenecks at both the ship channel and the San Luis Pass. It’s dangerous to swim or wade in either place.
As it has been pointed out, beer and the beach don’t always mix. Neither does beer and automobiles.
Most law enforcement agencies have extra patrols during spring break, including the Texas Department of Public Safety. Also, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will have more than 200 officers out in force.
For retailers, bartenders and wait staff, the obvious should be to check IDs. For customers, don’t be offended if you’re refused service because you are too drunk, it’s the law. If they serve you, you could both go to jail. Besides, you are probably about to, or already have, made a fool out of yourself.
Do yourself, and drivers on Galveston’s roads a favor, get a ride and go home.
• Dave Mathews