Michigan is surrounded by one of nature’s great wonders – the Great Lakes. Four of the five Great Lakes border touch Michigan’s borders, and our beaches are often referred to as America’s Third Coast. But don’t let the freshwater beauty deceive you, as the lakes can serve up deadly conditions if you’re not careful.
There are scores of drownings each year, with Lake Michigan and Lake Huron usually seeing the most fatalities due their popularity. Prevailing west winds at popular beach towns Holland and Grand Haven, in particular, can create surprisingly large and powerful waves with accompanying rip currents that can overpower even the most experienced swimmers. People are frequently swept off piers and other structures during stormy weather, and even occasionally during seemingly mild conditions.
Over the last few years, the number of drownings has increased. In order to try to reverse the trend, the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has proposed an order to essentially ban swimming at state-run beaches when conditions are too dangerous. Currently, there is no penalty for swimming on Red Flag days or during other dangerous conditions.
Reaction to the proposed measure is decidedly mixed.
In Michigan, where recreational water use is tied to so many people’s way of life, there is concern that the proposed rule may be too overbroad. On the other hand, saving lives (and reducing risky rescue operations) is being embraced by local officials.
If enacted, the rule would take effect on August 12.
Growing up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nolan Erickson began working at Church Wyble PC in 2007 as a law clerk. Now as an attorney with Grewal Law, Mr. Erickson has developed extensive experience with all phases of trial and pre-trial resolution of personal injury matters, including major auto accident, medical malpractice, and other serious injury cases.