Great Lakes Surf and Rescue, TC Coast Guard Give Warning for Cold Water Conditions

On early spring days, it’s hard to want to stay off of the water.

At this time of the year, there are colder water conditions. And if you’re not prepared, you could be in trouble.

“This is somewhat of a dangerous times on the Great Lakes,” said Dave Benjamin, Executive Director for Great Lakes Surf and Rescue Project. “There’s always hazards around any body of water, but this is the time of year where we are all itching to get out.”

The Great Lakes Surf and Rescue Project says if you are headed back to the beach, there are few thing to keep in mind.

“We haven’t been to the beach in nine months. Which means our swimming endurance is going to be down,” said Benjamin. “If we’re going out on a boat for either boating or fishing we need to make sure that these boats that are coming out of storage are properly maintained.”

If you are on a boat, not having a life jacket in these cold water conditions could be deadly.

“You’re going to start hyperventilating. So you have about a minute to control your breathing, about ten minutes of meaningful movement, and less than one hour until hypothermia could kill you,” says Benjamin.8a312e3f A9e3 4bfc B322 F6569245beb3

The Traverse City Coast Guard Auxiliary says you should always tell someone when you plan to go out.

“We call it a filing a float plan and just letting somebody know, a loved one or somebody, know what your plans are, where you’re going to be, when you plan to get back,” said James Frick, Immediate Past Flotilla Commander for the Traverse City Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

This year, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering paddle borders and kayak owners vessel identification stickers, so that if there is an emergency, they know who to contact.

“Otherwise they have to launch a rescue and its $15,000 an hour for a helicopter and there were a number of searches last year that ‘oh the kayak just blew off the beach,’” said Frick. 

To get one of these stickers you can contact the Traverse City Coast Guard Auxiliary.