Michigan state senators are considering a measure that would put a system of colored flags in place at some of the state’s public beaches to alert swimmers to lake water conditions.
Sponsors introduced the legislation in response to a high number of drowning victims last year in West Michigan, the Times Herald in Port Huron reported Saturday.
Eighty-seven people drowned in 2011 in the Great Lakes – up from 74 two years ago. Forty-four drowned last year in Lake Michigan.
“It is intended to drive information on water conditions,” said state Sen. Phil Pavlov, a Republican from St. Clair near Lake Huron.
Pavlov said the state Department of Natural Resources already has standards for beach conditions. “This would just expand it to all beaches on the Great Lakes,” he said.
The bill, modeled after a program in Florida, would not apply to inland lakes or ponds.
Colors of the flags would indicate whether it’s safe for swimming, if the water is clean, wind or wave conditions and if there are undertows or riptides.
But some parks and recreation officials worry that maintaining the system would stress manpower and limited funding.
“The condition of the lake can change so quickly … we would almost need another staff person just to be in charge of watching the beach,” said Nancy Winzer, director of the Port Huron recreation department.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.