Galveston Local Spotlight: Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis

With a family history on the Island spanning seven generations, Peter Davis has the waves of Galveston’s beaches flowing through his veins.

Sporting a lifetime’s worth of achievements in water safety, his path to Galveston Island Beach Patrol chief almost seems fated. His visits to the beach in his youth and his experiences with the lifeguards molded him into who he is today.

Lifeguards were the coolest people out there on the beach.

Chief Peter Davis

Even with such deep roots in Galveston and its beaches, his passions took him across the globe. He started working for the Beach Patrol in 1983 at the age of 17, but his love of art led him to become an art teacher in Botswana after college. It was then that Davis found a love of travel, exploring more of Africa and its various cultures.

Davis returned to America but decided to see more of the world, backpacking through Central America while applying to graduate school. These experiences would prove useful, as he went on to volunteer with the United States Lifesaving Association and the International Life Saving Federation during his time with the Beach Patrol.

Serving in high-ranking positions for both, he helped train lifeguards around the world, especially in Latin America.

My Spanish got way, way better!

Chief Peter Davis

In particular, he has helped train Mexican lifeguards in Galveston’s sister city, Veracruz, for around 20 years. There, he learned how different beach patrols approach problems relative to their needs.

After Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston in 2008, Davis and the fire chief were tasked with creating a formalized program to improve disaster response. Working within budget constraints, they established the Galveston Marine Response. Inspired by Veracruz’s beach patrol and the coordination between its agencies, this group pools together agency resources for more effective response efforts.

Davis’ appreciation of community also manifests itself through his art. Whenever the opportunity has arisen, he has worked on several community murals, including as the art director for the “See-Wall Mural” in Galveston. This 2.5-milelong mural facing the water is the work of 14,000 community volunteers and depicts a variety of sea life.

I like murals because I like the idea that everybody gets to see and enjoy it.

Chief Peter Davis

From his love of the beach, community, the arts and different cultures, Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis is as Galvestonian as it gets.

Galveston Island Beach Patrol
  • The Island’s beach protection dates back to 1875 with a lifesaving station at San Luis Pass, established by the United States Life-Saving Service.
  • A beach patrol system was established in the 1940s, with 20 guards employed by August 1941.
  • Current staffing includes more than 100 individuals, along with a Junior Lifeguard Program for youths aged 10-15.
  • Galveston Island Beach Patrol was home to LeRoy Colombo, a deaf lifeguard who holds the Guinness World Record for the most lives saved by an individual at 907 confirmed lives.
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