Staying safe has come to mean so much during this past year. At the beach, staying safe is the number one priority for the award-winning Galveston Island Beach Patrol who guard beachgoers along 32 miles of coastline moves around 400,000 beachgoers from danger each year.
During National Beach Safety Week, May 23-30, Galveston’s lifeguards remind the public to observe caution when heading to the water.
“Remember, the beach isn’t a pool or pond,” Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said. “There are dangerous rip currents, marine life, and the bottom is uneven with troughs and drop-offs. You should be much more careful and be sure to not exceed your ability. And most importantly, you should maintain good situational awareness.”
Davis offers the following tips to ensure a fun and safe trip to the beach:
Swim near a lifeguard
Galveston boasts an Advanced Level lifeguard service certified by the United States Lifesaving Association. Lifeguards are stationed from early morning until dark throughout the summer at the beach parks, along the seawall and patrol West Beach. Visitors are encouraged to seek out lifeguards and swim nearby for protection.
Avoid dangerous currents
Stay away from the rocks and jetties where there is a chance you could be caught in a dangerous rip current. Also, don’t swim at the ends of the island because of strong tidal currents.
“Never enter a rip current to help someone,” Davis said. “Instead, throw a floating object like the ring buoys and ropes that can be found in rescue boxes on the groynes.”
Additional Safety Tips
Designate a “Water Watcher”
Never swim alone
Don’t float where you can’t swim
Don’t dive head-first into the water
Take sun and heat precautions
Warning Signs and Flags
Every day, Galveston’s lifeguards raise flags that signal the condition of the water. A green flag means conditions are calm and swimmers are urged to be careful. A yellow flag indicates caution should be used when entering the water. This flag is flown for normal conditions to remind swimmers to stay alert. A red flag is flown when conditions are determined to be out of the ordinary, including strong winds, strong currents, or large surf. Adult swimmers should stay in water no more than waist deep and non-swimmers and children should be kept along the shoreline. A purple flag indicates a potential problem with jellyfish, stingrays or other marine life that could be a hazard for swimmers. An orange flag indicates there is an environmental warning for air or water quality.