If you head out to the water this Independence Day weekend, please take necessary precautions to make it a safe trip. Michigan’s lakes are some of our greatest treasures, but they also pose one of our greatest dangers.
Although the Great Lakes are not known for deadly rip currents, 30 people drowned in their undertow last year. Lake Michigan’s currents claimed 17 lives in 2010 and have been identified as one of the most dangerous rip current zones.
Rip currents are hazardous to all beachgoers and can sweep away even the strongest swimmer.
I recently testified before the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee about the need for uniformity in beach safety warnings, especially concerning rip currents.
Currently, there are many different warning systems in use by different municipalities; which can be confusing and even dangerous for people who visit multiple beaches.
Shortly, I will be introducing legislation which would have Michigan join states like Florida that utilize a statewide, flag-based warning system that is consistent and easy for swimmers to understand. I would also like our state to provide a website where individuals can check the condition of the beaches from home.
As a former lifeguard, I know that our lakefront is not to be feared, but respected. Everyone should enjoy Michigan’s lakes, pools and streams, but also remember that taking swimming lessons and always using proper precautions can help ensure a fun, safe time.