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Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project warns of dangerous conditions on Lake Michigan this weekend

South Haven waves hit spectators on pier
Posted at 9:26 PM, May 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-01 21:26:13-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Great Lakes Rescue Project Executive Director Dave Benjamin spends hundreds of hours each year on Lake Michigan in the worst possible conditions, while surfing.

He does it with quite a different mentality than he did just 10 years ago, when he faced a problem those who love the lake risk.

“My surfboard got destroyed, and I had a drowning incident. That’s why I got involved,” Dave Benjamin said.

Now he spends his time trying to make sure no one experiences what he did. With a record number of drownings in Lake Michigan in 2020, Benjamin says it's important people remember this weekend the dangers the lake poses.

Benjamin regularly watches the South Haven cameras at the pier. Just before his interview with FOX 17 Saturday night, he watched massive waves hit onlookers on the pier. Thankfully, they were okay. But he knows that's not always the case.

“It’s like a slow-motion train wreck, and it’s easy to prevent,” Benjamin said.

The weather might be warm Sunday, but the lake will barely be above 40 degrees. It's enough to cause serious issues of shock and hypothermia if someone is accidentally swept in the water. The red flags are out. All are encouraged to stay off the piers.

RELATED: Body of drowning victim recovered two weeks after being swept off St. Joseph pier

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