Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo to be held at McCarty’s Cove

Learn about dangerous currents and how to be safe in the water.

The 2016 Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo will offer information on dangerous currents and how to stay safe while in the water. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

The 2016 Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo will offer information on dangerous currents and how to stay safe while in the water. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

Marquette beaches have several types of dangerous currents that can pose a threat to swimmers. Beachgoers will have an opportunity to learn about these dangerous currents during the Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo. The expo will be held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 11, 2016, at McCarty’s Cove. It is sponsored by the National Weather Service, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, the City of Marquette, U.S. Coast Guard, Northern Michigan University, and the YMCA of Marquette County.

The City of Marquette has numerous beaches that pose different types of hazards. Earlier this year two drownings occurred at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Little Presque Isle Recreation Area north of Marquette, which is an isolated beach area known for its channel currents. Several years ago two swimmers lost their lives at Middle Bay Beach at Presque Isle Park due to rip currents. Two other swimmers during that 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.

Because of the dangerous currents that exist along the Marquette coastline 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. Over the last couple of years Michigan Sea Grant through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Storms Program grant was able to provide the City of Marquette with water rescue equipment and loaner youth life jackets. Through this same program Michigan Sea Grant provided rescue equipment for three new rescue stations at Little Presque Isle Recreation Area where two recent drowning occurred. Since this equipment was deployed at Little Presque Isle Recreation Area one life has been saved. In addition, one person was saved this past winter that fell through the ice off Marquette with rescuers utilizing the deployed rescue equipment.

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.

The National Weather Service and Michigan Sea Grant will supply information on Great Lakes rip currents and channel currents, 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 provide maps of the Marquette beaches and the YMCA will have information on swimming and water recreation classes. In case of rain, the event will be held on Aug. 12, 2016, in the same location.

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 and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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