Guadalupe River

The Guadalupe River at the FM 1117 bridge.

It’s not even Memorial Day yet, and the region had its first drowning of the young season.

An 18-year-old San Antonio man drowned in the Guadalupe River on the outskirts of Seguin last week while swimming near the FM 1117 bridge.

The waters were unfamiliar to the group of swimmers who ran into problems. One was rescued by another person nearby, the other was not.

The next day searchers discovered his body, caught on debris not far from where he disappeared.

“If you go out to a river to go swimming, you need to know that area well,” Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Lt. Clint Garza said. “Make sure you’re aware of any obstructions under water, any currents, some history. It is good to know before you get into the water what you are jumping in.”

It’s a good reminder in the wake of a tragic lesson as the area begins to welcome the summer tourist season — however that may look in this coronavirus-shaped year.

Even in the safest areas of our rivers and lakes, a simple, unfortunate slip and fall can prove life threatening. People have hit their heads, been rendered unconscious, injured or simply confused and struggling to return to safety.

Those complications and dangers ramp up dramatically if alcohol is involved, as it frequently is during summertime trips to the water.

If you’re going to the river or the lake for a dip, make sure you’re familiar with the area where you’ll be swimming.

If you’re a weak swimmer or recovering from illness or injury, wear a lifejacket. Young children should wear a lifejacket — as much for the visibility that it offers parents as for the floatation properties.

Everyone should do their part to limit the number of tragedies we have to put in our pages this summer.

Our Voice is the opinion of the editorial board of the Seguin Gazette.

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