It's hot, it's windy, and I want to enjoy the waves—if only the water would warm up just a bit. Last summer Michigan Sea Grant posted a list of tips for staying safe in the Great Lakes, "Water Safety and Rip Currents." With summer finally upon us, I'm reposting five additional tips of my own.
1. Get to know your lake. Teach kids to swim in the Great Lakes. Swimming pools are good for perfecting strokes and dives, but there's no substitute for first-hand knowledge of how your lake behaves. It can take a lifetime to learn.
2. Respect the water. The Great Lakes are powerful—enjoy at your own risk, and know when you've reached the point of exhaustion.
3. Take caution and take care of your kids. If you're not a strong swimmer, be careful of the waves, and don't let your kids in the water if you're not capable of saving them yourself.
4. Don't swim alone. If there's violent waves, swim with a partner and keep an eye on fellow swimmers. Preparation and responsible swimming saves lives.
5. Have fun. Red flags at the beach mean it's time to party. Nothing is more fun than crashing in the waves and feeling the power of the Great Lakes.