After a recent string of tragic drownings, local businesses in southwest Michigan are aiming to make these cherished days of summer vacation safer for kids and their families who were hoping to have some fun in the sun.

Record Drownings

I'm not sure what's to blame for the turbulent conditions on Lake Michigan has been experiencing over the last several weeks, but so far this summer we are on track to nearly double the amount of drownings the lakeshore has seen since 2020. Lake Michigan saw a record 53 drownings that year and with the recent drownings in South Haven last week that brings this year's total to 24-- and we're only halfway through the season!

WKMI logo
Get our free mobile app

Red Flag Day

Because there are no lifeguards at state parks, swimmers are urged to look to the color coded flags that are flown on most beaches. As you would expect, the colors are as follows:

  • Red = Unsafe conditions, do not enter or swim in the water
  • Yellow = Be cautious of possible dangerous currents and high waves
  • Green = Safe to swim, but always keep on eye on changing conditions

In fact, it is so important that swimmers take these warnings seriously that the state has passed a new law which, " prohibits water access from a state-managed beach when risks are present."

Beach Day Alternatives

Over the weekend The Mitten Children's Museum at 246 Broadway in South Haven announced a new initiative: BOGO admission to the museum on red flag days. The facility says if there is a red flag being flown at any of South Haven's beaches or the Van Buren State Park while the children's museum is open, you can plan to stay safe while still enjoying a day out with discounted admission to the museum.

The museum says they were inspired by a similar promotion at Lake Arvesta. Similarly, local eatery The Lodge says they will also offer various discounts that will rotate throughout the season.

We've all been there and we know it's no fun to pack up for a day at the lake only to find a red flag flying, but it's not worth the risk. I wouldn't be surprised to see more businesses along the lakeshore follow suit; it sure is one creative way to turn a "red flag day" frown, upside down!

7 Fantastic Michigan Beaches That are Worth a Road Trip

Michigan is known for its beautiful beaches. If you are looking for a new spot to visit this summer, here are a few suggestions for you.

More From WKMI