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Lake Michigan beaches experience high swim risk Sunday

Published: Jul. 19, 2020 at 11:15 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (WNDU) - The swim risk was high for Lake Michigan beaches in La Porte and Berrien County on Sunday.

Silver Beach is one where red flags flew, signaling that it was unsafe for beach goers to be in the water.

This is because of different dangerous currents, some of which are hard for people to see coming.

“All of the currents are really hard to swim out of, especially when they’re strong. So, when you get the high-risk swim conditions, it’s talking about that the waves can be choppy and there’s currents you can see and some that you really can’t see and can take you out. It’s real dangerous for people to be swimming in them,” Silver Beach County Park head lifeguard Max Kelly said.

Which is why the lifeguards were patrolling the beach from one end to the other to keep people out of the water.

Even for the best of swimmers, Kelly says that it’s easy to get very disoriented if caught in a current.

“A lot of people might hear that, if you’re getting pulled out into the lake, just swim parallel with the shore. That’s a really good tip, but when you get pulled under a current and you have waves crashing on you, it’s really hard to know where you are and to be able to breathe easily,” Kelly said.

Kelly says that a big part of keeping beach goers safe is through education.

“A lot of people don’t like getting kicked out of the water, so we have to tell them about all the risks that come with swimming with these dangerous currents and waves,” Kelly said.

Kelly urges people visiting the beach to be aware and look for signs indicating whether it is safe to swim or not. “If you do come to the beach, you’ll see down at all the lifeguard towers that they have all the flags posted, and you’ll see all the red flags with the no swimming sign on it, so all things to look for if you are wondering whether you should go in or not.”

Kelly says that the risk conditions can change frequently, so it’s important to check with those patrolling the beach to know when it’s safe to swim.

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