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Beach Awareness Week: How to stay safe on the lakeshore

May 24-27, 13 is on your side with all things beach safety!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We are heading into beach season and that means it's time for a reminder on how to alert yourself of beach hazards before heading to the lakeshore. 

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports that drownings are one of the leading causes of accidental death in the nation, coming in at 5th overall, with ⅔ of those who drown considered to be strong swimmers.

Since 2010, 962 people have drowned in the Great Lakes, with 15 deaths already occurring since the start of 2021. Many of these deaths are preventable. People assume that water safety is common sense, but many lack education on the basics. 

For example, Lake Michigan has the most current-related incidents of all the Great Lakes. However, many families head over to the water without knowing how to escape these deadly, invisible currents. 


Another fact that people may not be aware of is that most current-related deaths occur when waves are only 3 to 4 feet high — a height that is seemingly safe.

Credit: 13 ON YOUR SIDE

Ever wonder where along the Lake Michigan shoreline has the most current-related incidents? Well, take a look at the map below. The darker the shade of red, the more unsafe it is to swim in that spot. Ottawa county comes in at number one. 

Credit: 13 ON YOUR SIDE

All of these factors combined is why starting Monday, 13 is on your side bringing you Beach Awareness Week, a week dedicated to educating you on how to stay safe along the lakeshore. 

 Here is a breakdown of what to expect each day. 


Statistically least safe locations along with the lakeshore/Beach Flag Breakdown.


How to stay safe if caught in a current/wave height safety. 


Lakeshore erosion.


Invasive Species in Lake Michigan. 


Boat Safety/Beach Forecast. 

Lake Michigan can be a terrific place to enjoy the beach and water, but a fun day can quickly turn into a tragedy without the proper education. Be sure to tune into 13 On Your Side next week for tips and tricks to keep you and your loved ones safe. 

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