Busy Memorial Day weekend for Houston-area Coast Guard units

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HOUSTON — A large influx of swimmers and boaters led to multiple search and rescue cases for Coast Guard crews and Houston-area response agencies this Memorial Day weekend.

In total, 10 search and rescue cases were logged from Friday to Monday, which tragically included four drownings. A summary of some of the efforts are:

  • Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston command center staff managed 10 search and rescue cases and 11 marine safety cases
  • Coast Guard Air Station Houston helicopter crews conducted more than 33 search-and-rescue flight hours
  • Coast Guard Station Freeport crewmembers conducted more than 27 search-and-rescue hours
  • Coast Guard Station Sabine towed a mariner’s disabled vessel to safety after they drifted too close to rocks near North Levy Road in Sabine Lake.

“In a two-day span the Coast Guard responded to four drowning deaths,” said Lt. Spencer Roach, a command duty officer at Sector Houston/Galveston. “It is truly heartbreaking to see these patterns repeated every holiday weekend and underscores the need for constant vigilance while around the water. The Coast Guard operates the most sophisticated and accurate search-planning technology available, but even the best searches can’t help you if you lack the basic safety gear such as life jackets, which will help you survive until we get there.”

Many maritime incidents and deaths are preventable and with boating season well underway, the Coast Guard urges all boaters and mariners to do the following before heading out on the water:

Beach goers should follow additional precautions before entering the water. Don’t swim alone and always swim where lifeguards are present. Pay close attention to and heed beach warning flags and signs.

For more information on beach safety, check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s site on rip currents at www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov.

For more information on boating safety please visit the Coast Guard’s boating safety website at www.uscgboating.org.

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