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Traverse City Fire Department Gives Water Safety Reminders

With this weekend’s hot temperatures and summer around the corner, people are anxious to get out on the water and enjoy Northern Michigan beaches.

"Usually the better swimmers are the ones we usually save," says Traverse City Firefighter and Paramedic Nathan McKerchie.

McKerchie says when it comes to days like today, regardless of your swimming skills. the water temperature puts anyone in the water at risk.

"The water temperature now especially on a warm day such as today, sun shining it’s hot and the air temperature is warm, it’s not the case with the water temperature," says McKerchie.

Summer may officially start Monday, but McKerchie says the water is only around 58 degrees.

People need to dress right to protect themselves.

"Wet suites are probably the most common thing kayakers and paddle boarders can wear this time of year especially with the water temperatures so cold and that prevents any kind of rapid heat loss from that person if they so happen to fall in," says McKerchie.

And even if you’re just soaking up the sun on a boat, make sure everyone is in a life jacket.

"When a small child falls in the water their natural instinct is to open their mouth and take a breath, especially with cold water. Cold water is going to induce a big old deep gasp and if they’re going to go under water, that’s not good," says McKerchie.

Parents should also make their own rules for their kids to follow.

"We only let them wade in shallow water so if we’re out in the boat, they’re going to have life jackets on the whole time and make sure they’re sitting not walking around the boat when it’s moving," says Mark Cosgrove, who brought his family to Traverse City to enjoy the beach this weekend.

Traverse City Fire Department hopes safety reminders will stop them from having to rescue anyone this summer.

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