SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A southwestern Michigan town that swells with summer visitors is taking steps to keep people out of Lake Michigan during hazardous conditions.
The city council in South Haven agreed to install gates to close popular piers at certain times. Swimmers also could be fined if they’re in the lake, though surfers or kite boarders who embrace big wind and waves would be exempt.
City Manager Kate Hosier said enforcement will start with warnings not fines.
“This is one more thing that we can do to help educate people as to when it is not an ideal time to be in the water,” Hosier said Monday.
A public safety committee made recommendations after three people drowned in 2020.
South Haven is in Michigan’s southwestern corner, a two-hour drive from Chicago.
More than 80 people drowned in the Great Lakes in 2021, including 38 in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
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Featured image: In this April 6, 2017, file photo, strong winds send huge waves at the Lake Michigan shoreline at South Haven Michigan. A decade-old program that has pumped $2.7 billion into healing long-term injuries to the Great Lakes environment has received authorization from Congress to continue another five years. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, to extend the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which the House did earlier this year. (Mark Bugnaski/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP, File)