So far this summer season, there have been four reported drownings on Galveston beaches. Three of them have been at the San Luis Pass on Galveston’s West End.
That’s four too many.
Not only is it illegal to swim or enter the water at the far east and west ends on the island due to strong rip currents and the like — but it’s dangerous — and there are signs stating those facts.
According to the Galveston Island Beach Patrol, there have been 78,882 preventative actions, in which lifeguards had to move swimmers out of danger, with close to 7,500 of those actions taking place at San Luis Pass, alone.
That’s a lot — and we’re just now entering the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Each day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, of those, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.
For tourists and locals who visit our beaches, the consensus from local authorities and the newspaper is that we want your experiences to be good ones, free of any preventable tragedies that could occur, such as drownings.
The Beach Patrol, which is an agency of the United States Lifesaving Association is the designated lifeguard service for the city of Galveston, is fully staffed.
These men and women, who work to ensure the safety of all who visit our beaches, cover 32-miles of beaches and look out for more than 7 million visitors to island beaches annually.
We encourage everyone to practice beach safety and to also take heed to the Flag Warning System notifications, which are used to advise beach patrons of the current water conditions and any applicable environmental warnings.
Basic beach and water safety tips to follow include learning to swim, swimming near a lifeguard, staying away from rocks/jetties, swimming with a buddy, getting acquainted with lifeguards on duty, staying hydrated with non-alcoholic beverages and wearing life jackets, just to name a few.
The main rule, though, is to obey posted signs and flags and to always listen to the lifeguards. They’re in place to keep you safe on our beaches.
So, enjoy yourself in and around our beaches. But, make sure you take heed to the warning signs and be safe.
• Angela Wilson