Busy beaches, dangerous swimming conditions expected on Lake Michigan for Memorial Day

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) — Lake Michigan beaches in Wisconsin are expected to be busy for Memorial Day, with warm temperatures in the forecast.

Crowded beaches mean water safety remains a priority for officials, especially with dangerous water conditions expected.

Dozens braved the wind to hit the waves at North Beach in Racine on Sunday, May 29, cooling off for the holiday weekend.

The lake was angry and cold on Sunday, guided by gusty winds, and those winds aren’t going anywhere for Memorial Day.

The National Weather Service is issuing a beach hazard advisory for Lake Michigan shorelines from Sheboygan County down to Kenosha County, warning of life-threatening 3 to 5 foot waves and rip currents, leading to dangerous swimming conditions.

While they know they can’t keep everyone out of the water, officials are warning beach-goers to stay vigilant.

“Swim in the designated swim areas. No one can predict when the riptides and currents will appear, and how strong they’ll be,” said Sgt. Dan Hogan with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol.

While many are still planning to soak up the sun and sand, safety is top priority, especially for parents.

“I take it upon myself, I don’t rely on lifeguards. I keep an eye on my kids, and even other kids too, I’ll watch other kids and make sure they’re safe as well,” said visitor, Kevin Davenport.

“I think it’s never too early to teach our kids about water safety, even before you think they can understand, we always talk to them, show them how to be safe around the water,” said visitor, Amy Cohen.

The Racine County Sheriff’s Office is also upping patrols for the holiday.

“We have some staffing issues but we’re doing what we can. We’re working on the weekends and Monday from 7 in the morning to 11 at night,” Sgt. Hogan said.

Sgt. Hogan says to check the weather and alerts before getting in the water. He says Racine County is working to implement more water safety resources.

“Our agency is currently working on some type of system that will be like a bulletin board type thing. We’re currently working with vendors at this time to get that operational,” said Sgt. Hogan.

There aren’t lifeguards at most Milwaukee County beaches this summer, including Bradford Beach.

In Racine County, there will be lifeguards at North Beach, but not until next week.

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