SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A South Haven brewery is working to raise awareness around water safety.
Last week, the owners at Three Blondes Brewing on Phoenix Street started printing new kids’ menus. On the menu, families will find a drawing that explains how the flag system works at the lakeshore.
Amanda Johnson, one of the owners at Three Blondes Brewing, said she and her family were inspired to put the additions on the children’s menu after a 22-year-old from the east side of the state and 19-year-old from Columbus drowned at South Beach last week.
At the time of the drownings, yellow flags were flying, letting swimmers know to use caution in the water. Red flags were raised later in the day. The double drowning followed several others on Lake Michigan this summer.
“It’s devastating. I’ve grown up here. My children are growing up here in town. Every time you hear the sirens heading for the beach your heart stops and unfortunately, it’s usually a visitor. It’s not usually a local that’s experiencing the trauma and that’s awful,” said Johnson.
Johnson said during the summer months, a lot of tourists visit the area and come into their restaurant, which is why she thought it would be helpful to add information about water safety. She said after working with the visitor’s bureau to get marketing information, they incorporated water safety into their kids’ menus.
Now, with every serving of chicken fingers or mac and cheese, customers will find drawings detailing what each flag color means and the consequences they could face if they ignore them, like a $1,000 fine on red flag days.
Johnson said their goal is to prevent future tragedies.
“If one child is like, ‘Mom there’s red flags on here. We can’t go in the water,’ and it saves them then that’s amazing. That would be great to know that little children’s menu made a difference,” she said. “If that’s something we can do then that’s what we’re doing.”
The owners say they plan to continue offering water safety information in the future and they’re encouraging other businesses to do the same.