South Haven considers bringing back lifeguards

Southwest Michigan

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The City of South Haven could soon be considering the return of lifeguards to its beaches.

City Manager Kate Hosier is asking the city council to create a committee to review shoreline safety and if a lifeguard program should return.

According to Hosier, many residents have asked for the city to look into the idea of hiring lifeguards more than 20 years after the program was disbanded.

“If you go back to those conversations, a lot of it was could you get the staffing. Also people were concerned about the liability because drownings still did occur,” Hosier said.

Kameron Daugherty, a supporter of bringing back lifeguards, says saving a life is priceless, and the expense of having lifeguards is not as much as people would think.

“If you’re looking at it strictly from a dollar standpoint, those are dollars you have to factor in as well. On top of that, you have to factor in the expense involved in getting the Coast Guard and county services involved when we have a recovery that needs to happen,” Daugherty said.

The city received the results of a survey this summer asking residents about their thoughts on having lifeguards.

“It didn’t really come out for or against. We were kind of hoping for a pretty clear majority, but we did not get one. So at this point, we’re going to see what the community wants to do,” Hosier said.

Hosier says a committee could look into a variety of issues concerning water and pier safety. Very few Lake Michigan beaches in the area have lifeguards.

“I only know of two places where it’s guarded, and that would be New Buffalo Municipal Beach and Silver Beach, which is a Berrien County beach,” Hosier said.

The city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday with limited in-person capacity and will also be streamed online.

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