SOUTH HAVEN, Michigan — The city of South Haven is implementing new safety rules for its beaches. City manager Kate Hosier said the ordinance prevents people from going to the beach and the pier when it is closed.
Violators, she said, will be subject to a civil offense or a $1,000 fine.
“It’s a pretty steep fine,” Hosier said during a Zoom interview with Fox 17 on Monday. “But I guess the best way to put it is that the city council really wants to address the concerns of the community, that it’s the safety of people who come to the water, but it’s also the first responders, the police and firefighters. , EMS who go there to help as well.
Hosier said dangerous conditions — like contamination, debris washing up on shore, inclement weather identified by the NWS, and waves exceeding 8 feet — will force the city to close its beaches.
She said that amount of water can pull anyone in and under it.
“The dangers on the pier are that there could be very high waves coming through and it doesn’t take a lot of water to tip the person off the pier,” she said. “And when we see these high winds and high wave conditions, we determined that these would be ideal conditions to close the pier.”
She added that in severe weather and high waves, certain activities are allowed: surfing, longboarding, kitesurfing and body or boogie boarding. However, they must follow safety rules, including using a leash and wearing weather-appropriate clothing.
She recommends everyone pay attention to the beach flags as soon as they arrive to get an idea of the day’s conditions.
“We looked at the water conditions at the start of the day and at least four times during the day to find out what the conditions are and we are also looking at the National Weather Service,” she said. “When we raise these safety flags on the beach from green to yellow to red, we are sending out a Nixle alert and trying to let people know what the conditions are. So what does this order say that if there is a red flag and you enter the water after the red flag has been displayed, you could be subject to the civil offense or the fine of 1,000 $.