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Officials warn of dangerous Lake Michigan conditions

Posted at 6:33 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 06:33:30-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Just in time for the first week of summer vacation for West Michigan students: high waves at the big lake.

Red flags are going out across Lake Michigan beaches. Dave Benjamin with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says no matter what color the flags are, you need to be careful.

‘We need to understand, that the flag system, whether it’s a cloth flag system, or an electronic flag system, is a tool for lifeguards to use, and not a replacement for lifeguards,” Benjamin said.

Residents of Muskegon are reminded of times like this in past years, when warnings come that often aren't heeded.

“The very next day, you look up, and there’s a coast guard helicopter up looking for a body. It’s the most eerie, saddest thing in the whole wild world,” Fred Weiss said.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's department's marine division says they're prepared to help anyone in need. But poor conditions make rescues often impossible.

"It’s going to be very hard. We’re going to do everything we can to get to you. But you put your life at risk when you come out to swim, and there are dangerous conditions,” Sergeant Jon Knott said.