Water safety while swimming in U.P.

MARQUETTE COUNTY — The weather is getting warmer and that means more people trying to cool off at the beach. Although it is a fun time to go swimming in the lakes you must be careful and aware of all the possible dangers.



Large bodies of water can seem like a harmless way to cool down in the summer sun.

Although while swimming in certain areas can turn deadly in a moment’s notice. Especially when some swimmers may not be aware of all of the possible dangers that reside in the body of water. One of the most important details to know when swimming is how the current conditions are affecting the lake.

This information can be located through the flag system that is used at life guard outposts in the City of Marquette. This can help people become aware of the lakes current conditions and on how dangerous the lake may be at that time.

“We want them to be aware of our flag system,” said, Head Life Guard for the City of Marquette, Shea Kinder. “So we have flags at each beach and normally with each beach you have the flag system under the flags and you can even ask the guards and they will know the system. If it is green you can go swimming, if yellow then you need to be cautious, when it is red you probably shouldn’t swim but we still have guards out there. If there are two red flags then you do not want to go out there at all.”

With the weather affecting the swimming safety as much as it does, there are other threats while swimming in these large bodies of water. Rip currents which can be affected by the weather are always changing and can be very dangerous even for the best of swimmers.

“The rip currents here are definitely strong,” said, Petty Officer 3rd Class Coast Guard, Darryl Howard. “A lot of people you know their initial thing to do are fight against it. Definitely do not fight against the current and kind of get yourself together. But the most important thing to do is to swim with the shore line. Do not swim out into the water and don’t try to come directly right back to the shore. You want to stay parallel to the shore line and edge yourself in that way.”

If you are also with another person and they are pulled out by the current then you do not want to get into the water as well. Instead find a way to help them by throwing a flotation device out to them and or calling for help.

“Don’t go in and call 911,” said Kinder. “If there is a life preserver then you can go and throw that on or try throwing one of the life rings that are on the back of each lifeguard stands to them. Just you stay safe we do not want two people to be drowning versus one.”

When you are going to a location with very little ability to contact for help it is always important to carry a cell phone for in case of emergencies.

“Having a cell phone available and being able to notify authorities if something happens,” said Howard. “A lot of people want to play the hero when some on is drowning or in distress, so the best thing you can do in that situation is to call someone first. Cause we cannot respond until we know there is an issue.”

Now if you have the option you can use a device called “E.M.I.L.Y.” This device is located at some beaches that have not lifeguards currently stationed for the season.

“An EMILY is our emergency lifeguarding lanyard,” said Kinder. “An it’s like a little remote control boat that can be sent out. There is a lock code on it, so when you call 911 they will give you the lock code and you will get into the box and send it directly towards the person that is being swept away.”

Knowing the area and places you are going to be swimming at are very important. Knowing all the rules and safety tips while in the water is also crucial and it may save your life one day.