Rescue ring installed at beach for summer

Stay safe, watch for rip currents and remain on paths.
Brett Grams, facilities operations, installs a life ring at Laketown Township Beach on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

The rescue ring has been installed for its second full season at Laketown Township Beach. It faces Lake Michigan so it can be easily reached in an emergency.

Behind the ring are two rip current warning signs – one in English, the other in Spanish – that greet visitors as they enter the beach.

The Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission purchased the ring and signs in 2022.

The signs explain the dangers of rip currents and what to do in case a swimmer gets caught in one. The life ring can be used as a flotation device to help a swimmer in need.

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore, according to the National Weather Service. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves. They can pull a swimmer away from shore and submerge them.

State parks and other beaches use a flag system to warn visitors of lake dangers. Laketown Beach does not have warning flags or lifeguards. Beachgoers are advised to check the National Weather Service website for lake conditions.

The life ring at Laketown Township Baech on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

About the beach

Laketown Beach, 6710 142nd Ave., has about 200 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline. Entrance is free. Access requires using wooden steps and walking a steep sand dune. Parking is limited. A portable restroom is available in the parking lot. No dogs allowed.

Visitors should stay on the paths and off the fragile dunes. The township has spent more than $100,000 in the past few years to plant grass to help stabilize the dunes.

The parks commission has set up two committees to look at parking and environmental issues at the beach. The commission is also studying the replacement of the current steps.

Water monitoring

Beach monitoring for water quality begins next week.

The Allegan County Health Department will conduct water sampling at Laketown and other beaches in Allegan County, funded by two Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) grants. The purpose of these tests is to monitor the level of E. coli in these waters to determine if using the waters for recreational purposes is safe for the public.

Results will be posted at the state website here.