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Grand Haven fisherman raising money for water safety education after latest drowning

He hopes the effort will span to all Michigan beaches.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A fisherman working on Lake Michigan for decades is fundraising for warning banners along the shoreline to deter swimmers when conditions are dangerous. 

"We're seeing situations that just aren't safe and...over time, it's just something that eats away," said Dana Bonney, who owns and operates the Danel Sportfishing charter business off N. Harbor Drive in Grand Haven. 

Divers recovered the body of 14-year-old Jovanny Arroyo near Grand Haven's South Pier just before noon Tuesday, July 21. Arroyo is the 21st person to drown in Lake Michigan this year, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. 

"I have a young one who is at that age where it's really hard and can go one way or another," Bonney said. "We want him to understand the severity of what was going on, and that was probably what brought [about] this."

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Bonney started a Facebook group "Safer Beach Project," and a GoFundMe to raise at least $5,000 for feather signs placed along the shore to warn swimmers of deadly rip currents.

"There have been great efforts in the past to prevent [drownings], but I feel it is time to step it up a notch," the GoFundMe page reads.

Bonney would like the warning flags placed in 75-yard intervals from the pier through City Beach. The remainder of the money would be utilized with input from the DNR and local law enforcement agencies, he said.

"There are some people that are just not going to abide by what's told to them," Bonney said. "But if we can get the awareness and save just one life – that's all we want to do – hopefully more."

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