Watch CBS News

Hidden Dangers In Lake Michigan As High Water Levels Hide Break Walls

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A bizarre sight in the middle of Lake Michigan: A boat perched on top of a break wall.

And it's not the first time it's happened.

CBS 2's Vi Nguyen reports on a hidden danger on the lake.

The water levels are so high right now, it's causing dangerous conditions for boaters making it very hard for them to see the break wall.

"We'll go from record lows to record highs. Six or seven years ago, we were having water levels that were so low that boats weren't able to get into the slips and now we're having water levels so high, that boats aren't able to get out into certain harbors like Diversey," said Graham Sauser of Chicago Sailing, who added that the water level this summer is one of the highest as far as he can remember.

He believes the level is  between 30 to 35 inches higher than previous years. And that's posing a big danger to boaters who can't see the break wall, now nearly covered by water.

On Thursday, CBS 2 saw a powerboat still stuck on a break wall. On Wednesday night, the driver hit the break wall, sending five people to the hospital. Just last week another boater hit the break wall, killing one person on board.

"For a long time in Illinois, there have been very lax, little to no requirements. There are a lot of people that go out and buy a boat and don't learn anything about how to do it safely, or how to read a chart or what the markers mean and they're putting themselves and other people at risk."

The U.S. Coast Guard is urging boaters to be aware of the high levels and to be mindful of the locations of the break walls.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.