West Michigan beaches haven't had lifeguards for more than ten years. But after a boy from Ann Arbor drowned in South Haven at the beach, the debate on whether West Michigan beaches should have a lifeguards has been restarted.

The boy drowned after he had been missing for 22 minutes. Even with first responders' attempts to save him, he was pronounced dead.

The city of South Haven got rid of their part time lifeguards over ten years ago, and decided to equip their police and fire department with water rescue training and equipment. They also put 9-1-1 call boxes on the beaches and established a flag system. Part of the reason South Haven got rid of their lifeguards was due to cost and liability, but City Manager Brian Dissette says that there were other reasons as well.

While all of these measures are helpful, they are not able to spot, and save a struggling swimmer. The crew that responded to the drowning boy on Saturday arrived after only three minutes. Three minutes submerged, however, can cause serious damage to the body, if the person survives.

What do you think? Should there be lifeguards on West Michigan beaches?



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