Galveston Island officials are preaching water safety as we head into the busiest weekend of the summer season.
Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis says even the most experienced swimmer is prone to dangers in the Gulf of Mexico.
“In Texas we have rip currents all the time near any structure that goes out into the water like a pier or jetty,” Davis tells KTRH News. “In Galveston we have 15 rock jetties, that's where we position our lifeguards so they can keep people out of that rip current area.”
“If you're comfortable in a pool or pond going out to your chest, you don't want to do that on the beachfront because there's a lot more factors out there and you don't know really get a full grip of how uneven the bottom will be and what kind of currents there will be or how easy it is to panic in an unfamiliar environment,” he says.
Recent drownings serve as a deadly reminder to know your limit and pay attention to posted signs.
“We probably average six or so a year in Galveston, but this year alone we've had two in the San Luis Pass area on the Galveston side,” Davis says. “We've also had two over in Brazoria County, so the San Luis Pass has already claimed four lives this year.”
Davis says the heat and sun also can take a toll on beach goers, especially when combined with alcohol. He says heat stroke is a common occurrence.
He also warns parents to keep an eye on their young children.
“On holiday weekends, we do a number of lost kid reunions with their parents,” says Davis. “At one beach on one day we may have up to 60 lost kids.”