Lake Michigan Beach Hazard Statement, swim risk high

The National Weather Service issued Beach Hazard Statements for five counties along Lake Michigan: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine and Sheboygan through early Wednesday, July 21. It means there's a high swim risk, with many enjoying the warm weather at Milwaukee's Bradford Beach Tuesday afternoon.

The NWS wants beachgoers to stay safe and dry when waves are high.

Lorraine Moore was among a group of kids playing in the cool water Tuesday, enjoying her afternoon at Bradford Beach.

"I just wanted to have a free day to spend time with them. Just give them a day of fun, a little adventure," said Moore.

She came to the beach with some of the kids who used to attend her day care. She stressed that water safety is key.

"I talk to them before we even leave the house and let them know we’re going to the beach where there’s water, and I don’t want no one to drown," said Moore.

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Dave Benjamin, the executive director of the Great Lakes Surf and Rescue Project, said Lake Michigan is the deadliest of all the Great Lakes.

"Because of the high population density along the lakeshore, there’s a lot of access to water," said Benjamin. "There’s a big lack of lifeguards, and it’s also a tourist destination."

In issuing the alerts, the NWS said a backdoor cold front Tuesday would result in dangerous conditions along Lake Michigan beaches with a high swim risk.

"Your chance of drowning in the Great Lakes is less than 1% if you’re wearing a life jacket," said Benjamin. "That’s based on the statistics that we have compiled over the last 10 years." 

Benjamin offered this advice if you're struggling with water over your head.

"You're going to have to float first, exit strategy second because if you don’t float first and stay at the surface and then you submerge, you don’t have an opportunity for an exit strategy," said Benjamin.

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