MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — For many, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer. At Muskegon’s Pere Marquette Beach Saturday, many people were out enjoying the day’s weather.

“It’s almost like a sense of relief, honestly,” said Steven Smith, a beachgoer. “Finally seeing the sun, you know? After a just kind of weird winter, now that we’re out here enjoying this weather and getting it as much as we can.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone not smile today, so … it’s awesome,” said Matthew Cramton, another beachgoer.

Pere Marquette Beach on May 27, 2023.
Pere Marquette Beach on May 27, 2023.

With the warm weather and more people out, the U.S. Coast Guard and first responders reminded people to be cautious while in the water. Lake Michigan still has cold temperatures, ranging from the upper 40s to the lower 50s.

According to the Coast Guard, if you jump right into cold water, you could go into cold water shock.

“They’re going to start shivering,” said Austin Frye, a U.S. Coast Guard boatswain mate. “If that’s the case and you feel like you are getting too cold, and you notice somebody shivering — maybe their fingers are starting to turn colors or lose coloring, starting to turn pale — just get out of the water, wrap up in a towel. Make sure you keep them warm.”

Although the beach was packed Saturday afternoon, the water was not.

“It’s cold,” Cramton said. “I got in and out real quick.”

Last year, the Great Lakes saw over 100 drownings, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

“Just look at the flags on the beach. If it’s a red flag day, don’t get in the water,” Frye said. “There’s not a whole lot of currents on Lake Michigan, but there are rip currents. Even the most experienced swimmers can get drug out and pulled under water.”