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South Haven officials issue 25 citations for ignoring red flags

Authorities are cracking down on swimmers entering the water when red flags are flying. This comes after multiple drownings along the lakeshore.

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — South Haven authorities say 25 people were issued citations Wednesday for getting into Lake Michigan despite red flags flying during dangerous conditions.

This comes after multiple drownings along the lakeshore, including a 16-year-old from Mona shores, a 7-year-old boy from Texas and a 33-year-old man from Ohio.

"Many, many more warnings were given as it was hard to keep up with people continually getting into the water," Chief of Police Natalie Thompson said. 

South Haven's city ordinance calls for a fine of $1,000 for anyone who enters to water when the beach or a portion of the beach has been closed. 

In Grand Haven when two red flags are flying, that means water access is closed, and you could be fined up to $500. 

At beaches and state parks, the beach flag system has three options telling beachgoers how safe swimming is at that time. 

This summer, South Haven's city beach updated its flag system to help warn people who are colorblind.

A green flag means it is safe to swim under the current conditions. 

A yellow flag means swimming is allowed, but caution should be used. 

A red flag means swimming is dangerous and beachgoers should avoid the water.

If two red flags are being flown, it means water access is closed to beachgoers entirely. In addition, warning signs will be placed along the beach during double red flags to keep people from entering the water.

Grand Haven State Park officials say more state parks in Michigan will be adopting the double red flag system soon.

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