After weekend rescue: Water Safety reminders

The two men rescued from Lake Superior at the mouth of the Carp River near Marquette Friday night will not face any criminal charges.

The Marquette Fire Department was dispatched to Lake Superior south of Marquette around 8:30 p.m.  The two men perched on an ice floe about 50 yards off shore for about 90 minutes Friday night.  The pair was taken to Marquette General Hospital where they were treated for mild hypothermia.

Fortunately, both of the first responders who swam through the frigid waters and the rest of the crew helping from shore were able to walk away with no major injuries.  But, the incident is a reminder of how dangerous Lake Superior’s waters can be – in any season.

The Marquette Waterfront Safety Task Force has helped reduce the number of drownings over the last couple of years.

“We’ve incorporated all of the Waterfront Safety Task Force features into our waterfront education system. We’re reaching a lot more people. I guess based on experience in some of the fatalities we’ve had, first and foremost would be: never lose eye contact with your children. Especially, if for some reason, you’re away from the guarded beaches,” reminded   Marquette Fire Chief Tom Belt.

Waterfront safety information in various formats at beaches advocates swimming in areas with a lifeguard on duty, allocates beachfront safety equipment, and reiterates the importance of learning how to swim.

Even experienced swimmers need reminders about the dangerous rip currents.

“Sometimes conditions, especially for children [are important]. The flag might be yellow, which is a moderate type hazard, but for children it might be too dangerous. Now there’s a variety of ways you can check that. You can go online or on the city’s website. And as you get closer to the beach, you can pay attention to the flags that are posted along the beach for the various water conditions,” Belt reiterated.

The efforts of the task force are being noticed. The summer of 2011 saw 18 drownings in the state – but not one in Marquette.  Officials hope to see the same results this year, and emphasize caution when swimming in the lake.