GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Lake Michigan has claimed 26 lives in 2022, which is far more than any of our other great lakes.
This week alone, Lake Michigan changed three families' lives forever.
"Lake Michigan is very dangerous, is what I learned," Coast Guard Haran Ellis said. "It's very serious that they treat Lake Michigan with respect."
Ellis is a Coast Guard member out of Grand Haven.
"I feel a lot of swimmers underestimate Lake Michigan. When the storms come in, and they come in quick, the lake can turn really bad really quick," he told FOX17.
Ellis is one of the many stationed here who respond to people in need of help.
"So we're on the boat, we have what's called search patterns. When we originally get on scene, we do an initial sweep of the area to see if we can see anyone obviously in distress that we can attend to right away," Ellis said.
This year in our state, Lake Michigan has taken five lives.
When we peel back and look at last year's numbers - there were 11 lives taken, most of which were in the southern half of Lake Michigan.
"So if you're in a rip current, the best thing to do is not panic. And not try and swim as hard as you can to shore. If you try and swim into the rip current, it will tire you out," he added.
Ellis says in his ten years of experience. He has witnessed more than a dozen drownings. Three of them are right here in Michigan.
"It puts mental strain on us. But it's our job to be there for. It's our job to be there for the public.
Ellis says each call of a potential drowning is around one thousand dollars; however, that number could be higher since gas prices have gone up.