I guess with the water hitting the 70s while still in February, any lingering doubts about the validity of global warming have literally melted away.
With the warm weather came the crowds in all their diverse glory. Any kind of person you can imagine seems to end up on our beaches. Being within striking range of the most diverse city in the United States, this is inevitable.
With warmer water and increased crowds, it’s becoming more and more evident that we’re going to have to find a way to expand tower lifeguard coverage into February, the second half of October and probably weekends in November.
There is a part of me that enjoys the ever-shrinking time of year we have our island sandbar to ourselves. But when the masses arrive, I feel a certain elation.
I’m proud to be a seventh-generation Galvestonian and part of our history of immigrant groups that came here voluntarily and involuntarily, and all the mixing, swirl, strength and tolerance that comes with our rich history.
I think that’s why I love our beach and the whole coastline of Texas so much. Not only do we welcome everyone, but our state codified this in the Texas Open Beaches act to ensure that our natural resource is accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy it.
Our state has the admirable distinction of legally providing the public with the greatest amount of access to the beach of any of the states in the country. No small feat.
The beach is a special place, and people flock here for different reasons. And it’s an absolute privilege for my staff and I to protect, support and, at times, rescue the public who comes to our beach.
But with all that access and the diverse masses that visit, comes some pretty complicated situations.
The unspeakable tragedy where a Honduran family came to the States to earn enough money to bring their two twin boys to the United States so they could pursue the American dream, only to have them die in our waters, is a poignant example.
As we activated a massive search involving so many partner groups, we did the best we could to keep the family updated and supported. The Survivor Support Network, comprised almost exclusively of volunteers, did such an incredible job of providing counselors, translators, and clergy. They also worked with LULAC and several local businesses to secure lodging, meeting rooms and meals.
Meanwhile, on the beach, the County Citizens Emergency Response Team of volunteers spent hours and days working tirelessly along with the local police and fire personnel, EMS, the Coast Guard, Equusearch, and many others in order to do their part in helping this family somehow find closure to this unspeakable tragedy.
Seeing how many step forward to help this family renews our faith. Seeing the family go through this renews our commitment to do everything in our power to prevent similar incidents from happening.
Peter Davis is chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol. The views in this column are his and do not necessarily represent those of the Beach Patrol, Galveston Park Board of Trustees or any other entity.
Go David I love you!!!!!
I can't imagine such a loss. My sincerest condolences to the family. Your team sees so much trauma and tragedy, I'm sure it takes a toll.
Peter is now going Greta with Global Warming excuses, sad. Guatemalan teens, 1 month in our country, in chest deep water and can't swim. Everything you said Peter is liberal jibberish while totally sidestepping the facts. Why don't you start educating parents on being better parents while focusing on the real problems of immigration. The lives lost on the sandbar from beach drownings are predominately hispanic, do a graph of the last 10 years of drownings if you don't believe. Language barriers, lack of knowledge understanding rip currents, and kids left unattended come to a more reasonable conclusion. I used to have a lot of faith in your words, but sadly I believe you are just a talking head now that gets thrown out there for Park Board public relations. Don't go blaming 2 twin brother's deaths on Global Warming, you are better than that. rs
Today's weather: Cloudy, windy and 57 degrees (feels like 52 in Galveston). I'm sure all our Spring Breakers wish Peter was correct about that global warming.
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