Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo

Beachgoers can learn how to be safe at Marquette’s beaches at Aug. 7 event.

Rip current sign at an Upper Peninsula Great Lakes beach.

Rip current sign at an Upper Peninsula Great Lakes beach.

Beachgoers will have an opportunity to learn about dangerous currents that exist at Marquette’s beaches at the Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo to be held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 7, 2015, at McCarty’s Cove. This event is being sponsored by the National Weather Service, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, the City of Marquette, and the YMCA of Marquette County. Stop by the tents for refreshments and some education! The National Weather Service and Michigan Sea Grant will display and hand out information on Great Lakes rip current and channel current history, the science behind rip currents and channel currents, and also on forecasts offered to advise people of rip current risk and dangerous lake conditions. The city of Marquette will have maps of the Marquette beaches and the YMCA will have information on swimming and water recreation classes.

The city of Marquette, along its convoluted waterfront, has numerous beaches that pose different types of hazards. Several years ago two swimmers lost their lives at Middle Bay Beach at Presque Isle Park due to rip currents. Two other swimmers during this same summer lost their lives at Picnic Rocks due to channel currents. At Picnic Rocks, fifteen drownings have occurred since 1963 and seven these have occurred since 1996.

Since these recent drownings, the Marquette Waterfront Safety Task Force was formed to develop specific education and safety information for both residents and visitors to the area. The task force established a uniform beachfront signage and mapping program. They also implemented improvements to Marquette’s lifeguard education and training program. This past year Michigan Sea Grant through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Storms Program grant was able to provide the city of Marquette with additional water rescue equipment and loaner youth life jackets.

The Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo will be an opportunity to learn about how to save yourself or someone else if trapped in a dangerous current. It will also provide an opportunity to learn about dangerous current forecasts to help prevent getting into a life-threatening situation in the first place.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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