Currents around several areas of the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior can be dangerous. Rip currents occur more frequently closer to the shore, especially near water inlets.
“We always stress safety for anyone who is going to be going into the water,” said John Pepin, Deputy Public Information Officer for the Department of Natural Resources. “Lake Superior is a force to be reckoned with as people need to know whether they’re swimming or boating or enjoying the water in any way.”
In some cases, simply not knowing the swimming conditions of an area can have dire consequences.
“Typically we have more reports around the beginning of the season where we’re just starting to get lifeguards out there and it’s getting warmer and everyone just wants to go to the beach, hang out in the water or closer to the school year for Northern Michigan University when we have a lot of new influx of students coming in who aren’t familiar with the area,” said Noelani Belton, Head lifeguard of the Marquette Fire Department.
Many reported drowning cases occur when there isn’t a lifeguard on duty. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, since 2010, there has been a total of 448 reported drownings in the Great Lakes.
“We’re working with the Marquette County Sheriffs Department now, Marquette Township and Marquette County in hopes of putting up a lifesaving station at Little Presque Isle, similar to the one that is located at Picnic Rocks or along those areas there,” said Pepin. “If someone is in need of help or gets caught in a current, there would be a life preserver there to throw out.”
If you are not sure whether or not conditions are safe to swim, many beaches have flags displaying the conditions for that day.