South Haven implements text messages for red flag beach days

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. -- The city of South Haven has implemented a text-messaging system that will alert the public of red flag days at its local beaches, according to South Haven Emergency Services.

The system is designed to alert the public before they head to the beach, especially on red flag days.

“We want people to realize when the lake is too rough long before they arrive at our beaches,” said Brandon Hinz, executive director of SHAES. “Unfortunately, the lake in its fury is so inviting that many people upon arrival at the beaches tend to disregard the red flags which are intended to signal they must to stay out of the water. We hope this messaging system will cause folks to decide not to head to the beach.”

“There are so many other recreational opportunities in the South Haven area that folks don't need to feel homebound on red flag days,” City Manager Kate Hosier said.

To subscribe to the free Beach Flag messaging system, send a text message with the word “Beaches” to 888777.

“In a return message you will receive the current beach flag postings and given the opportunity to sign up to receive messages whenever flags change to red,” Hinz said.

There is also a QR code that will take you to the beach flag status website.

Beach warning flags are posted at each of the city's 7 public beaches between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. They are changed whenever conditions change.

“Our staff will be monitoring lake conditions more frequently than in the past,” said Hinz. “We encourage the public visiting our beaches to keep an eye on the flags, especially when the lake is wavy.”

A numbering system for the nearby beach flag poles and pier safety boxes has been developed to assist during a time of emergency as a point of reference.

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