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Local beaches could be safer

October 12, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

The editorial "Swimmers Should Respect Lake" on Sept. 25 makes several important points:

1. 250 people have drowned on the Great Lakes since 2010.

2. Rip tides have played a large role in the deaths.

3. Local governments should completely rethink beach and water safety:

a. By posting signs warning of rip tides and information on how to detect them and move out of them.

b. Teaching young swimmers Michigan's Sea Grants Flip, Float, and Follow strategy.

And I would add:

c. Place and maintain, along with the above, a ring flotation device to enable others on the beach to attempt a safe rescue in case of an emergency. Accidents happen and at present, there are no floatation devices at Great Sand Bay or Bete Gris or other swimming roadside parks.

We are all responsible for ourselves and the consequences of our behavior and yet, we are also neighbors who help each other in times of crisis. A person-to-person rescue attempt too often ends with two people in peril.

A flotation ring enables us to help someone in a reasonably safe way. Michigan Department of Transportation owns the beach parks, Keweenaw Road Commission is responsible for maintaining them and they are situated in townships.

Working together, I am sure we will find a solution that will be safer than at present.





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