Back to the beach means remembering water safety

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – As the temperature climbs more people will be heading to the beaches on one of the Great Lakes.

So now is a good time to prepare for the currents, waves and other dangers that claim an average of ten lives each year in the water.

It’s important to remember that currents develop when the wind blow toward the shoreline and waves are three feet or higher.

>> Water Safety: Flip, float and follow

There are a number of currents that are produced in the Great Lakes and all can create serious danger for swimmers.

Of all the Great Lakes, the eastern shore of Lake Michigan has the most current-related incidents.

Since 2002 there have been 514 current-related incidents on the Great Lakes and 71 percent were on Lake Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has put together some items to remember before you head to the beach:

• Everyone is encouraged to learn to swim and how to be safe in and around the water.
• Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents (water that is discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from shore).
• It is never safe to swim near a structure such as a pier or break wall.
• Never go swimming alone, and designate someone to watch people who are in the water.
• Follow beach hazard statements and avoid the water when conditions are not safe for swimming.
• While it is important to avoid currents altogether, it is equally important to know how to survive one.

What should you do if you find yourself in a rip current?

Conserving energy is very important – DO NOT try to swim against the current.

Flip on your back and float to save energy.

The current will take you down the shoreline and, when you feel it decrease, follow the safest path out of the water.

You might end up quite a distance from where you began but a long walk back on the shoreline is a small price to be paid to be safe.

There are some sources to learn more about drowning risks and Great Lakes beach hazards:

>>Drowning risks

>>National Weather Service rip currents

>>Great Lakes beach hazards

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