Beach Hazard Awareness Week helps remind beachgoers of the dangers of Lake Michigan

Summer is just around the corner, and beach season is here! Although Lake Michigan can be a great place to spend a summer day, it’s important to remember the dangers that the Great Lake holds.

This week June 4th-10th is Beach Hazards Awareness Week, a great opportunity to talk with your family about the risks that Lake Michigan carries.

Some of the hazards that pose a risk to beachgoers include strong currents, cold water temperatures, underwater structures, and large waves. The best ways to stay safe from these dangers include wearing a life jacket, paying attention to surf forecasts, and knowing how to escape currents and get back to safety.

This year, there have already been 15 Great Lakes drownings with 5 of those in Lake Michigan. Any number of deaths in the lakes is too high, but this is still much less than what we saw at this time last year. By June 6th, 2022 already had 37 confirmed Great Lakes drownings with 18 of those being in Lake Michigan.

Although 2023 seems to be off to a bit of a safer start, it’s still important to always remember the dangers that Lake Michigan and any beach holds.

This year, the Michigan DNR will be adding an extra layer of safety to state park beaches - a new flag to be used for especially dangerous beach days.

The green, yellow, and red flags are familiar, but the double red flag will be added on this year. Many Michigan state parks began using double red flags last year, but nearly 30 more will see the addition of the flag in 2023.

While the green, yellow, and red flags signify low, medium, and high hazard days respectively, the double red flag will indicate that the water is closed due to dangerous swim conditions. If beachgoers enter the water while a double red flag is waving, they could be issued a citation.

No matter what level the swim conditions are, remember to always use caution around beaches and to respect the hazards that Lake Michigan presents.

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