Dangerous swimming conditions all along Lake Michigan to start holiday weekend

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 11:16 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (WNDU) -Beachgoers starting their weekend early will have to find a way to stay cool that doesn’t involve swimming in Lake Michigan.

16 News Now spoke with lifeguards at Silver Beach on Wednesday to learn how you can stay safe this holiday even though swimming conditions will be dangerous.

Beachgoers at Silver Beach took advantage of the green flag day on Wednesday, because it’s the last one we’ll have up and down the Lake Michigan coastline to start the 4th of July weekend.

You can expect dangerous swimming conditions on Lake Michigan for Thursday and Friday, with red flags from Michigan City to St. Joe and all the Michiana beaches in between.

Even though lifeguards are asking people to avoid going in the water, they’ll still be on high alert in case they need to spring into action.

“On the shore, we’re patrolling with our cans and our med packs and then we try to keep everyone out of the water and safe. If anyone has any questions of why it’s a red flag, we educate them and then tell them why,” said Silver Beach Head Guard Taylor Humphrey.

One of the reasons Humphrey will try and keep people out of the lake is because the rip currents can put even the strongest of swimmers in a life-threatening situation.

High waves on Thursday afternoon will get between three to six feet.

This means even small watercrafts like kayaks and paddleboards shouldn’t go out on the water either.

Lifeguards want you to take these warnings seriously because when you put yourself in a dangerous situation, they have to put lives at risk to save you.

“It’s just as dangerous for us as lifeguards as it is for you guys. We don’t want to go in there and risk our lives after a swimmer who was not as confident as they thought they were tries to brave the surf and we have to end up being rescued as well by probably the coast guard or marine patrol,” said Silver Beach Assistant Head Guard Luke Bingaman.

The splash pad across from Silver Beach is a great way to stay cool on either of the red flag days or if you’re not comfortable getting in the water on Saturday when the swim risk is downgraded to a yellow flag day.

With the 4th of July being such a busy weekend, there’s a lot to pay attention to for lifeguards. They ask you help them out by following the other rules they have here at Silver Beach and all the other beaches along the Lake Michigan coastline so they can focus on keeping people safe in the water.

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