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Michigan making exceptions to weather-related swim ban

Surfers, kite boarders and water boarders would be exempt from a proposed Michigan policy that...
Surfers, kite boarders and water boarders would be exempt from a proposed Michigan policy that would bar people from swimming at state beaches when waves are more than 8 feet high.(Maria Catanzarite)
Updated: Jul. 31, 2021 at 7:00 AM EDT
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GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - Surfers, kite boarders and water boarders would be exempt from a proposed Michigan policy that would bar people from swimming at state beaches when waves are more than 8 feet high.

The Department of Natural Resources wants to reduce the risk of drowning in the Great Lakes. But some beachgoers said keeping everyone out of the water was too sweeping. They argued that rough conditions can be ideal for their sport and that they prepare for the risk.

“We do have a public process and this is a result of us listening to them,” Ron Olson, the DNR’s parks chief, told The Detroit News. “We wanted to make sure this order didn’t constrict things that were unintended.”

The DNR Commission is expected to hear more on Aug. 12.

Rip currents and high waves have sometimes led to tragedies on Great Lakes beaches. There have been at least 47 drownings this year in states bordering the lakes, including 22 in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

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