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Water Safety on Michigan’s Great Lakes

Great Lakes Water Safety

Michigan’s Great Lakes can be deceiving. While the clear, blue waters are beautiful and refreshing; they can also be deadly.

According to the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, more than 800 people have drowned in the Great Lakes since 2010.

Rough Surf and Changing Shoreline

Rough surf; steep drop-offs and rip currents are among some of the hazards for those swimming and boating in the Great Lakes. As water levels rise in the Great Lake, the changing shoreline can cause additional risks to swimmers.

The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium and the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project provide vital information on water safety. Visit their sites to learn how to SAFELY enjoy the Great Lakes

National Weather Service Great Lakes Beach Hazards

Always check the National Weather Service Great Lakes Beach Hazards website. The site shares important information such as beach forecasts and beach hazards, which can change throughout the day depending on the weather.

Learn Great Lakes Water Safety

  1. Knowledge is POWER: take time to familiarize yourself with the shoreline, the water and drop-offs along the floor of the lake.
  2. Respect the water: while rough surf may be a fun in which to play, it can also be extremely dangerous, even for the most experienced swimmers.
  3. Remember the Great Lakes are freshwater seas: the water can change quickly

Safety Tips from the Great Lakes Water Consortium

Rip Currents

How to Avoid Drowning

Safety Tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Employ layers of protection including barriers to prevent access to water, life jackets, and close supervision of children to prevent drowning.
  • Know what to do in a water emergency – including how to help someone in trouble in the water safely, call for emergency help and CPR.

Take these sensible precautions when you’re around water (even if you’re not planning to swim):

  • Know your limitations, including physical fitness, medical conditions.
  • Never swim alone; swim with lifeguards and/or water watchers present.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for your weight and size and the water activity. Always wear a life jacket while boating, regardless of swimming skill.
  • Swim sober.
  • Understand the dangers of hyperventilation and hypoxic blackout.
  • Know how to call for help.
  • Understand and adjust for the unique risks of the water environment you are in, such as:
    • River currents.
    • Ocean rip currents.
    • Water temperature.
    • Shallow or unclear water.
    • Underwater hazards, such as vegetation and animals.