GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Surfers, kite boarders, and water boarders would be exempt from a proposed Michigan policy that would bar people from swimming at state beaches when waves are more than 8 feet high.
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2018 file photo, beachgoers help Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officers form human chains to search for missing people in Lake Michigan at Grand Haven State Park in Grand Haven, Mich. More drownings have been reported in the Great Lakes so far in 2021 than by this time last year, prompting officials to urge swimmers to practice water safety measures. As of July 2, there were 32 drownings in the Great Lakes, compared to 25 as of July 4, 2020, according to data collected by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. (Becky Vargo/The Tribune via AP,File)
The Department of Natural Resources wants to reduce the risk of drowning in the Great Lakes. But some beachgoers said keeping everyone out of the water was too sweeping. They argued that rough conditions can be ideal for their sport and that they prepare for the risk.
"We do have a public process, and this is a result of us listening to them," Ron Olson, the DNR's parks chief, told The Detroit News. "We wanted to make sure this order didn't constrict things that were unintended."
The DNR Commission is expected to hear more on Aug. 12.
Rip currents and high waves have sometimes led to tragedies on Great Lakes beaches. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there have been at least 47 drownings this year in states bordering the lakes, including 22 in Lake Michigan.
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