Stop going in the water on the beaches of Lake Michigan when the red flags are up. Not only is it dangerous to ignore the warnings of weather experts regarding hazardous waves or deadly rip current conditions, it’s rude. It doesn’t matter how experienced of a swimmer you are. It doesn’t matter if you have been swimming in Lake Michigan every summer for decades. Lake Michigan gives no craps. It will have no mercy. It will not spare you and you cannot sue the lake and make yourself come back to life.

There are reasons people might not understand the undertow. Non-locals see a beach paradise that is unsalted and shark free, so they jump right in unknowingly. But for those of us that have spent our whole lives in Southwest Michigan, there is no excuse. Every summer, people go into the water despite the red flags, and every summer, people drown. It’s the most preventable, predictable tragedy, and it makes no sense. To be in Michigan is to have access to water in every direction within mere minutes. If Lake Michigan is rated too perilous to swim, go somewhere else for your beach day.