The township installed new signage warnings of rip currents and a life preserver at Laketown Beach.
HOLLAND, Michigan — Labor Day is typically the last big beach weekend of the summer. One lakeshore township is prepared to save lives from potential dangers in the water.
The National Weather Service issued a warning for this weekend, the potential for dangerous waves and currents. Laketown Township this week got ahead of the game, installing new safety measures at one of its beaches.
“These rip currents can become nasty,” says Tom Shuff, chairperson for the Laketown Township parks commission.
The NWS says shifting winds could push wave heights to four to six feet.
Over the summer, several deaths have been caused by rip currents on Lake Michigan.
“It'd be one in Grand Haven, well, that's right up the road,” says Shuff. “Could be one in South Haven, right down the road.”
Shuff is thankful none have happened at one of their beaches.
“We hope and pray that we never have that at our park,” he says.
To prevent that, they decided to be proactive.
This week, the township installed new signage warning of rip currents and a life preserver at Laketown Beach.
And Shuff says it's only the beginning of safety discussions.
“Maybe we need more, I don't know, but we're starting,” says Shuff. “This is a start.”
He says. Ideally, they want a lifeguard like on ocean beaches. But right now, it's just not possible.
“Our budget is so strained that we can't even, you know, it's hard for us to hire a policeman,” explains Shuff.
He just hopes people will take the lake seriously over the holiday weekend.
“They'll say, oh, that happens at the ocean, that's never going to happen here,” says Shuff. “But 38 deaths this summer. That's almost a catastrophe.”
The NWS says to be especially careful next to the sides of piers this weekend. They predict the highest swim risk will be north of Muskegon, with a moderate risk everywhere else.