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Video warns about Great Lakes drownings

June marks the beginning of beach season in the Great Lakes – but it also means more people are at risk of drowning.  What does it mean to see a red flag at the beach?

Elizabeth Miller reports.

 

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports that 98 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, the most since 2012.  Currents caused by wind or structures like piers can make swimming in the lakes dangerous.

 

Beaches around the country use a flag system to warn beachgoers about swimming conditions. A green flag means it’s safe, yellow means be cautious, and red means no swimming.  These flags can be all a swimmer has to go on -- especially when there’s no lifeguard.

Over time, officials have added warning signs and emergency phones to prevent drownings. This season, the city of Holland, Mich., is trying something new – a video that shows what can happen if someone ignores the red flag.

Dangerous Waters -- a four-part series on drownings in the Great Lakes

Ottawa County Sergeant Cal Keuning says the video – which features a teenager drowning in Lake Michigan -- can reach more than just teens.

“We’re going to put this in schools, we have it on the web,” said Keuning.  “We want to hit everybody from infant to adults because we all use the lake, we all use the water.”

That’s an important message across the Great Lakes region. Especially in Holland and other towns on the east coast of Lake Michigan –  where drownings are not uncommon. 

A still from the video
City of Holland /
/
A still from the video

Copyright 2017 Great Lakes Today

Reporter/producer Elizabeth Miller joined ideastream after a stint at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she served as an intern on the National Desk, pitching stories about everything from a gentrified Brooklyn deli to an app for lost dogs. Before that, she covered weekend news at WAKR in Akron and interned at WCBE, a Columbus NPR affiliate. Elizabeth grew up in Columbus before moving north to attend Baldwin Wallace, where she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and mass communications.
Elizabeth Miller
Reporter/producer Elizabeth Miller joined ideastream after a stint at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she served as an intern on the National Desk, pitching stories about everything from a gentrified Brooklyn deli to an app for lost dogs. Before that, she covered weekend news at WAKR in Akron and interned at WCBE, a Columbus NPR affiliate. Elizabeth grew up in Columbus before moving north to attend Baldwin Wallace, where she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and mass communications.
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