First responders give advice on beach safety before hitting the waves

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Summer is just a few weeks away, and with the blazing Texas heat, families are searching for a way to cool down.

Escaping the heat usually means a trip to the beach, but anyone planning to visit the water should take precautions to ensure everyone stays safe.

"You can tell that the beach water is moving from south to north, and that’s because of the dominant south wind. There’s an issue with a rip current, where the water violently moves you away from the shore out into deeper water," said Lt. John Hooper, with the Corpus Christi Police Department.

Hooper said the key is for everyone to be on alert, especially if there are children around.

"Realize that because of the sandbar structure in the water that one minute, they can be in knee-deep water and the next minute, they can be in chest-deep water," Hooper said.

Knowing how to react to harsh and dangerous water conditions is a lesson parents should pass on to their children before they even get in the water, first responders say.

"Most important thing — and it's easy to say, not so easy to do — is remain calm (and) don't panic. Allow the water to go ahead and run its course to take you out before you start trying to move horizontally with the beach or from side to side," Hooper said.

In case of an emergency, first responders ask you have an idea of where you are on the beach. That includes being able to describe a landmark or knowing what beach marker you are near.

Visitors also need to know that rules can also vary from beach to beach.

"The speed limit on all of our beaches is 15 miles an hour. Every law that applies on a city street applies here on the beach. Seat belts are required and child safety seats. Open-container law is in effect just like on the streets of San Antonio,” Hooper said.

As peak beach season approaches, the main mission for first responders is to avoid tragedy.

"It's painful. It's always painful, especially when it's a visitor, especially when it's somebody that came here to Corpus Christi to celebrate a weekend with their family to have a good time," Hooper said.

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