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Dangerous water levels at Silver Beach; Officials issue warning for beachgoers

NOW: Dangerous water levels at Silver Beach; Officials issue warning for beachgoers

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- Thousands are expected at Silver Beach for the holiday but as water levels along the South Pier reach dangerous levels officials have issued a warning that walking along the pier could be dangerous — even deadly.

Despite the high water, officials say the South Pier will not be closed.

Police say they’re not going to stop you from walking out on the pier but if you do so it’s at your own risk.

 “It’s dangerous. Somebody done fell today,” beachgoer Dakota Everett said.

 “We encourage you to stand as far as the blue railing goes and enjoy the view but don’t take the risk of walking all the way out to the tower, “Sheriff Paul Bailey said.

Dakota Everett has been out on the pier at Silver Beach and says he doesn’t plan to go past the blue railing.

“I’m scared to fall to be honest.”

The week of the Fourth of July is a busy one for Berrien County Parks.

 “Today was a busy day at Silver Beach. Today we had beautiful 85 degree weather and tomorrow’s fireworks and we start getting into the weekend,” Brian Bailey, Director of Berrien County Parks said.

 “We probably get 5-6000 coming into St. Joe over the holiday weekend,” Sheriff Paul Bailey said.

As Silver Beach fills to capacity this week, officials are reminding you to be safe this holiday weekend — especially along the South Pier as the water continues to rise.

 “it’s very slippery, you could slip fall down hit your head, and then eventually slide right off the pier into Lake Michigan, which could cause your death,” Sheriff Paul Bailey said.

 “It is slippery,” beachgoer Dakota Everett said.

 “We want people to be aware of their surroundings. If you need assistance, talk to our staff or any deputies or police officers who will be around. We want everyone to have fun, stay safe and enjoy the week,” Brian Bailey, Director of Berrien County Parks said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does own the South Pier. They are reminding residents that piers were primarily built for ship navigation, not recreation, as the structures can be dangerous. They ask beachgoers to take precautions while near the pier and enjoy the holiday.

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