Lake Michigan's water level is 577 feet above sea level, just one foot above the all-time low.
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) - Businesses from a variety of industries are dependant on the health of Lake Michigan. However, the lake is nearing its lowest water level in recorded history. At 577 feet, it's just one foot above the record low.
It never used to take Bob Kubasiak a giant leap to get onto his boat. The low water levels are also making it so he can't bring his boat back to the dock in Saugatuck.
"The only way I could make it into my slip is if I had 10 people on one side of the boat and tilted it," says Kubasiak.
As Lake Michigan nears record low water levels, other boaters are quitting the season early.
"It's a problem, a big problem, especially in our area and it's a problem everywhere," says Kubasiak.
According to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers in Grand Haven, the water levels have dropped about 16 inches from last year.
"If we continue with the warm weather and low precipitation, we're probably going to hit record low levels in the month of November this year," says Tom O'Bryan, Engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Grand Haven.
Officials with the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power are watching the situation closely because it could eventually impact cargo shipments. The utility company says for every one inch drop in water level, 100 tons of cargo could be lost per ship, and that equals about $8,000.
"It will cause us to have lighter ship loads of coal coming in, which means we need more ships, and that increases are transportation costs. Unfortunately, that has to be absorbed in our rates," says Kristin Kratt, with the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power.
Kubasiak normally continues boating through October.
"I'll do whatever I can to keep boating for another month," says Kubasiak.
The Army Corps of Engineers says from now until January or February, the water levels typically drop the most, so that adds to the concern.