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Certified lifeguard says swimmers should pay attention to flags, conditions at Lake Mich. beaches

There have been 27 drownings in Lake Michigan in 2019.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There have been four drownings in West Michigan over the past week—and three of those were in Lake Michigan. 

Alex Brinks, a certified lifeguard and swimming instructor with Grand Rapids Aquatics, says one of the most common mistakes for swimmers is not adapting to open water.

"Biggest thing to be concerned about is changing conditions—anywhere where you can't see the bottom," said Brinks.

There have now been 27 drownings in Lake Michigan this year alone, and one of those occurred this weekend.  

RELATED: Man drowns in Lake Michigan Saturday afternoon

Brinks warns that not all West Michigan beaches are similar.

"There are a lot of swim at your own risk beaches in Michigan. Even those, always pay attention to the flags and pay attention to signage around there making sure you follow all regulations those beaches have in place," said Brinks.

RELATED: Water safety advocates continue push to bring back lifeguards on Michigan beaches

Another key is paying close attention to the water currents.

"Certainly water safety can help things like being familiar with swimming parallel to escape a current instead of if you are not making any progress and swimming directly toward the shore is not the way you want to go," said Brinks.


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