Galveston Island Beach Patrol warns of rip currents for Memorial Day swimmers

Monday, May 27, 2024
Galveston officials warn of rip currents for Memorial Day swimmers
The warning to beachgoers comes after two people drowned and at least four people were rescued over the weekend. Authorities have tips for anyone planning to get in the water.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Beachgoers are being warned to watch out for rip currents on Memorial Day.

Galveston Island Beach Patrol has issued a Yellow Flag Warning, which means there are moderate surf or currents present. Previously, a Red Flag Warning was issued, and it could continue to change throughout the day. Beachgoers are being asked to pay close attention to the warnings in their area.

Two people drowned in the gulf in Galveston over the weekend.

Beach patrol said a 19-year-old woman was body surfing with her brother on the seawall near 76th Street when she started struggling in the water on Sunday.

Her brother and another person were able to pull her to shore and give her CPR, but sadly, the woman died at the hospital.

Officials identified the victim as Yamileth Ramirez. Authorities said she was originally from Honduras but had been living in Houston.

Not even 24 hours before that, beach patrol said five people were caught in a rip current near 24th street middday on Saturday. Four of them were rescued, but one man -- 26-year-old Joshua Acevedo from Leesville, LA -- sadly died.

An ABC13 crew spoke to a man who said he heard someone calling for help and rushed in to try to save one of the swimmers.

She was already going under, saying she didn't want to die, she didn't want to die. 'Please, I don't want to die.' And I was like, 'I got you,'" Shannon Tucker said. "I actually reached out my hand. I grabbed her. She jumped on my back and at that time, it pulled me down and I couldn't breathe. 'Hey, just hold onto my shoulder and kind of glide and we are going to try to get out of this current.'"

Thankfully, both Tucker and the woman made it out of the water.

Authorities say more dangerous conditions are expected on Memorial Day. Adults who are good swimmers should only get in the water waist deep. Children and anyone who isn't a good swimmer should not get in at all, officials said.

Beachgoers should also swim near lifeguards and away from the piers and jetties, authorities warned.

Getting caught in a rip current can be scary, but it's important to stay calm in order to get out.

A rip current is a channel of water that flows away from the shoreline. They can sweep even the strongest swimmers away from the shore.

So, what do you do if you're caught in one?

Experts say rip currents will not pull you under the water, so relax and don't swim against it.

You can escape by swimming parallel to the shore, then at an angle back towards the beach.

If you can't get out, float on your back and wave for help.

"We just ask that you stay really, really far away any kind of pier or jetty and stay close to shore," Chief Peter Davis with Galveston Beach Patrol said. "And by close, I mean good swimmers who are adults, not more than their waist. Kids and non-swimmers should stay out."

If you see someone stuck in a rip current, the National Weather Service says you should:

  • Don't become a victim while trying to help someone else
  • Get help from a lifeguard
  • If one is not present, call 911 and try to direct the victim to swim parallel to the sore
  • Throw the person something that floats