Rip current warning signs and a rescue ring are back at the Laketown Township Beach at the end of 142nd Avenue just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Brett Grams, Laketown Facilities Operations, installed the signs on Friday, May 26, to greet visitors as they come down the dune to the beach. One sign is in English. One sign is in Spanish. The life ring marked “Laketown Twp” is on the side of the sign facing Lake Michigan so it can be reached easily in case of emergency.
The Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission approved the purchase of the signs and ring late last summer. The signs were posted last year just before Labor Day weekend and removed for the winter.
“At our parks commission meeting last August, we discussed the need and the importance of installing rip current warning informational signs at the township beach park as there had been an uptick in the injuries/deaths in the West Michigan area from rip currents in Lake Michigan,” said parks commission Chairperson Jeremy Van Hoven.
There have been no drownings in the last several years at Laketown Beach.
“We have a large amount of out-of-state guests who use our beach that may be unfamiliar with the potential dangers of rip currents in the big lake,” he said.
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.
Laketown Beach has about 200 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline. Access requires using wooden steps and walking a steep sand dune. Parking is limited. A portable restroom is available in the parking lot.