MUSKEGON, MICH. - In the event of a water emergency, every second counts. It's why the city of Muskegon has taken several steps to improve safety at Pere Marquette beach.
Several warning signs have been at the beach for years. Those signs tell swimmers how to escape a rip current and the danger of swimming by the South Pier.
Last summer, beach rescue stations were added. Those have life rings, life vests and throw ropes.
There's also an emergency call box that dials directly to 911.
New numbered signs are now in place and should help visitors direct first responders to the exact location of any emergencies at the beach.
"The first responders know immediately where to go," said Jeffrey Lewis, Muskegon's Director of Public Safety.
The signs should eliminate lost time.
"People would call in with landmarks, and that wasn't always the best thing to do because they'd say it's by the brick building, but we have a lots of brick buildings out here," Lewis said.
Lost seconds are valuable during an emergency.
"Time is everything when it comes to a water emergency," Lewis said.
The city also purchased an all terrain beach vehicle that will allow first responders to get to emergencies faster. Pere Marquette is nearly two miles long.
The vehicle will be stationed at the city's water filtration plant, which is about the middle of the beach.
"The most dangerous day at this beach is when it is hot, when it is sunny, and when it is windy," Lewis said.
Monday's strong north wind made for dangerous swimming conditions in Muskegon and Grand Haven, especially by the south piers where currents smash into into the structures and are redirected out into the lake.
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