Swimming is prohibited at San Luis Pass in Galveston

July 2, 2013 4:03:11 PM PDT
After a series of drownings the last few months at San Luis Pass, the Coast Guard and officials on Galveston Island are making a new push to make sure people stay safe.

Swimming is prohibited at the San Luis Pass, but some people get in the water anyway, but that can be a deadly decision.

There have been changes in the currents at San Luis Pass, and that's what caused the drownings of four people in the last month in the area. In fact, the waters are pretty unsafe on either end of the island.

Galveston authorities were out on Tuesday talking about water safety, and a couple of other things to think about this upcoming holiday weekend.

As you drive up the bumpy road to San Luis Pass Beach on Galveston Island, you'll see big signs telling beach goers not to swim and to stay safe.

Galveston Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said, "We've had four drownings in area, two on the Galveston side and two on the Brazoria County side here at the San Luis Pass."

That was the major message Galveston Island authorities were trying to get out to Fourth of July vacationers.

US Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Kevin Neuman said, "There's extremely strong currents running through this area and we want to make sure everybody understands that swimming and wading in these waters is prohibited."

We saw people wading in the waters today, but that message is one some visitors from Tulsa, Oklahoma, say they were taking pretty seriously.

"We're not going out in the current," one said.

Visitor Doug Barton said, "I thought we better, you know, be safe and stay in the areas where there are no signs posted."

But water safety isn't the only message.

"Drinking is not allowed on Galveston Island, except for downtown, the entertainment district, East Beach and Prado Beach," said Captain Jeffrey Heyse with the Galveston Police Department.

Another big concern is fireworks. On the Brazoria County side of the San Luis Pass Bridge, fireworks stands are open. They're illegal in the city of Galveston, and outside city limits, it's pretty dry.

"In the unincorporated areas of Galveston county, be careful," cautioned County Emergency Management Coordinator David Popoff. "We saw a rash of fires (Monday)."

There will be multi-agency patrols on San Luis Pass Beach, and they will be asking swimmers to get out of the water to keep them safe. They'll be on the lookout for other issues as well, such as heat problems, drinking and fireworks violations. The idea, they say, is to make sure everyone has a healthy, happy and safe Fourth of July.

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