Happy Memorial Day weekend!

While many of us see it as a weekend for honoring our nation’s veterans and inviting friends and family over for a barbecue, and the oicial kickof to summer, the Galveston Island Beach Patrol (GIBP) sees it as the busiest holiday of the year.

Galveston Island Surf RescueIn fact, it is expected that 250,000 to 500,000 tourists will visit the island this weekend alone! With the beach being the number one spot tourists and locals like to visit, the beach patrol has a huge job, and they are ready. I am always sure to let my clients know how safe our beaches are because of the GIBP.

GIBP is a Texas Department of Health-certiied irst response agency that employs more than 100 people as lifeguards, senior guards, supervisors, peace oicers and dispatchers. heir mission is to protect the ive to seven million people who visit our beaches each year, respond to aquatic emergencies, educate the public about beach safety and be a good community partner.

Led by Peter Davis, the chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol and of the Park Board Police Department, who started working for Beach Patrol in 1983. He is the Secretary General of the Americas Region of the International Lifesaving Federation, as well as the Vice President of the United States Lifesaving Association. Under his leadership, mentoring and tutelage, he has created a team that is well suited for their serious responsibilities.

Galveston Island Beach PatrolHeavy crowds, rip current generating jetties and changing conditions make protecting beach goers challenging, but the GIBP guards are highly trained to handle emergencies.

Ask any lifeguard about the traditional night swim and you are likely to hear how he or she pushed through feeling they couldn’t inish and ultimately bonded with the other guards. Programs start of with Junior Lifeguard day camp for 10- to 15-year-olds, and is a great orientation if the desire to be a lifeguard is evident.

To help make their job a little easier, beach patrol recommends everyone follow these 12 safety tips:

1. Learn to swim
2. Swim near a lifeguard
3. Stay away from the rocks
4. Swim with a buddy
5. Check with lifeguards
6. Use sunscreen and drink water
7. Obey posted signs and lags
8. Keep the beach and water clean
9. Learn rip current safety
10. Enter water feet first
11. Wear a life jacket
12. Don’t swim at the ends of the island.

More beach safety information is available on the GIBP website at TexasBeachSafety.org.

Don’t forget their 18th annual BBQ fundraiser is June 19 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Pressbox. he money raised provides scholarships and entries to competitions. It’s a great cause. his weekend as we remember and honor our veterans, we should also keep in mind these safety tips and thank a lifeguard! he GIBP is one more reason why those of us lucky enough to live by the sea are lucky enough.