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City of South Haven enacts beach and pier safety ordinance

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South Haven beach

In 2021, 47 drownings were recorded in Lake Michigan by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. In response, the City of South Haven is taking proactive steps promoting swimmer and beachgoer safety.

When beaches and piers are closed by city officials, individuals are prohibited from entering the water from beaches. It also includes diving or jumping from piers. Signs will be posted and ordinance violators will receive a civil infraction and fines of $1,000.

Conditions considered safety risks include contamination, unsafe debris washing ashore, rescue and recovery efforts, a severe weather event identified by the National Weather Service, and waves exceeding 8 feet in height.

The ordinance does allow for some recreational water activities during severe weather events and high waves. Those involve surfing, longboarding, shortboarding, or any type of wave riding board. Kiteboarding, body or "boogie" boarding with swim fins and skim boarding. Individuals participating in any of these do so at their own risk.

And under any condition, the City of South Haven reminds everyone that it is illegal to dive, jump, or swim within 50 feet of a Lake Michigan pier.