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Marquette’s beaches are beautiful, but are not always safe

There’s something about summertime in Marquette, especially when it comes to spending time next to the world’s largest fresh-water lake, Lake Superior.

While the beauty of the lake and all it has to offer draws many onto and next to Lake Superior, we want to remind everyone how dangerous the lake can be.

Residents and visitors often take joy from the lake and its beaches through fishing, boating, sailing, swimming, surfing and many other activities. That’s great; one of the best things about living in Marquette is the recreation. We all love taking a dip, a boat ride or going on fishing expeditions.

But we’re also often reminded of how deadly the lake can be with lost or stranded boaters, drownings and with how quickly the weather can change.

The City of Marquette has implemented a warning flag system for its beaches that can be referenced for current waterfront safety conditions. The flags, located at Picnic Rocks, South Beach, McCarty’s Cove, North McCarty’s Cove, and Middle Bay Beach at Presque Isle in Marquette, come in four different levels: Green means the hazard is low; yellow is a medium hazard with 2- to 4-foot waves; red is a high hazard with waves over 4-feet and means no swimming is permitted; and red with a no-swimming logo means the water is closed to the public and no lifeguards are on duty.

The dangers of rip currents – a strong, localized, and narrow current that in near the surface of the water -have been evident at Picnic Rocks.

Rip currents are extremely hazardous to swimmers of all skill levels and are responsible for an average of 46 deaths a year in the United States. If caught in a rip current -getting pulled directly away from shore -a swimmer should swim parallel to the shoreline and not try to get back to the shore.

These warnings are also posted on the city’s website available at mqtcity.org.html.

The city monitors the conditions daily and makes the changes as necessary. We recommend checking on conditions before making any attempt to get in or on the water.

We also advise to check out the U.S. Coast Guard’s website on boating at www.uscgboating.org.