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Coast Guard Fest: Parade of Ships canceled due to high waves

High waves on Lake Michigan have forced organizers to cancel an annual tradition.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - Organizers of this year's Coast Guard Festival have canceled a poignant portion of the week-long festivities. 

The Parade of Ships, which was set to take place Monday, July 29, has been canceled. Organizers shared the news Monday morning on Facebook stating the large waves on Lake Michigan have nixed the parade. 

"You have lots of boats very close to each other, so very short amount of time to react if engines go out or you get a rogue wave coming in," said Lt. j.g. Caleb Metroka.  

Despite the canceled parade, all four U.S. Coast Guard Cutters – USCGC Bristol Bay, USCGC Katmai Bay, USCGC Buckthorn and USCGC Alder – arrived before noon. The scheduled ship tours are still set to take place. 

Nothing says Coast Guard like the ships coming through, so there is some disappointment, said Commander Mike Smith, the festival's executive director. 

"We might've missed the entrance of the ships, but they'll be here and fill the harbor just nicely," Smith said. "We have 38 events over 10 days, affordable family fun open to the public. We have a lot going on." 

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Coast Guard Fest 2019

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The National Weather Service issued a Beach Hazard advisory through late Monday night for Oceana, Ottawa, Muskegon, Mason and Allegan counties.

Dangerous swimming conditions are expected at beaches north of South Haven. Separately, swimming is discouraged south of South Haven. Waves could be 3 feet or higher.


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