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City of South Haven enacts beach and pier safety ordinance

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South Haven beach

City takes proactive approach with Lake Michigan summer swimming season approaching.

In 2021, 47 drownings were recorded in Lake Michigan by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. In response, the City of South Haven is taking proactive steps promoting swimmer and beachgoer safety.

When beaches and piers are closed by city officials, individuals are prohibited from entering the water from beaches. It also includes diving or jumping from piers. Signs will be posted and ordinance violators will receive a civil infraction and fined $1,000.

Conditions considered safety risks include, contamination, unsafe debris washing ashore, rescue and recovery efforts, a severe weather event identified by the National Weather Service and waves exceeding 8 feet in height.

The ordinance does allow for some recreational water activities during severe weather events and high waves. Those involve, surfing, longboarding, shortboarding or any type wave riding board. Kiteboarding, body or “boogie” boarding with swim fins and skim boarding. Individuals participating in any of these do so at their own risk.

And under any condition, the City of South Haven reminds everyone that it is illegal to dive, jump or swim within 50 feet of a Lake Michigan pier.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.