Expo demonstrates importance of water safety

With a stretch of warm summery weather in the forecast, the National Weather Service, the city of Marquette, and Michigan Sea Grant were on the beach to talk water safety.

The groups hosted a Water Safety and Recreation Expo at McCarty’s Cove Friday.

Dangerous currents on the Great Lakes was a major focus of the event: where they form, how to identify them, and how to escape them.

“We try to teach people to not swim near river mouths and breakwalls, just because that’s typically where dangerous currents form,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Megan Dodson said.  “It’s important to let people know where they shouldn’t swim, and if perhaps they knew of a forecast to look at to say ‘Well today may be a bad beach day, don’t drive to the beach, don’t go swimming’, they may not have gone in the water in the first place.”

“Once they get to the beach, they can rely on the lifeguards and the officials to tell them that the conditions are dangerous.  And, if they do decide to go in the water after that, at least they would know how to escape dangerous currents and also how to rescue someone that was caught in one.”

There was also information about the Recreational Beach Forecast produced by most Great Lakes National Weather Service Offices–which offers a forecast of expected lake currents and waves.

Another aspect to the afternoon: trying out water sports equipment such as paddle boards and kayaks.

The NWS Office in Marquette has a link to for a Recreational Beach Forecast for updates on water conditions in Marquette and Alger counties.