GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Emergency responders are reminding people to stay safe this Memorial Day Weekend in Lake Michigan.
While the warming up for the unofficial start of summer, Lake Michigan still has cold temperatures, ranging from the upper 40s to the lower 50s.
Jaiden Sanchez kept an extra close eye on her kids Friday at Grand Haven State Park.
“We get in the water with them,” she said. “We’re keeping them close by right now, of course because it’s cold we’re not going more them knee high.”
Emergency crews are reminding people to take extra precautions with the cold water, like staying close to shore and limiting time in the water.
“The colder the water gets, the quicker you’re going to lose your body heat,” Ralph Fair with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary explained. “You lose a lot of it out of your head, your eyes and things of that nature, so when the water is 55 or 60 degrees even it could be a very short time before you can’t even move your arms.”
Life jackets can also be helpful even for strong swimmers.
“This provides that extra buoyancy. People think, ‘Well I can swim,’ but typically … when you get that cold you’re going to start losing the mobility,” Fairbanks said.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division was busy patrolling in the Holland area Friday.
“It’s supposed to be gorgeous however the water is still very cold. My last reading that I know of was 52 degrees on Lake Michigan,” Sgt. Jon Knott said.
Knott said the impact of getting in cold water can lead to something worse, if you’re not careful.
“If you jump right in to cold water you go into what’s called ‘cold water shock’ and it’s almost like a panicky feeling,” Knott said. “Your hearts racing, you’re gasping for air when you first hit that water and what could happen is you start sucking in water into your lungs and then you could potentially get into a drowning situation.”