Death toll on Lake Michigan in 2016 up to 35

WSBT 22 Photo

There have been 35 deaths from drowning this year in Lake Michigan according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. Labor Day weekend is the last major beach weekend of the Summer, which means time for fun and friends, but it is also a busy time with extra dangers to be on the lookout for.

If your family is going swimming in Lake Michigan this weekend, make sure you always swim with a buddy. If you are on land, keep a close eye on those in the water. It can be difficult when the beach is full of distractions.

Do not go in the water if you are not a strong swimmer. Officers with the Coast Guard in St. Joseph said pulling a victim from the water is an agonizing part of their job, and they always advise against pier jumping.

"People don't know, but jumping off piers isn't safe. There are rocks underneath the pier that you can get stuck in. You can actually get sucked up under the pier and stuck under there," Coast Guard Petty Officer Connor Hallinan said.

If you are going boating, the Coast Guard said always wear your life jacket and carry something on your boat that makes a lot of noise. That way you can signal for help if you need it. There is also such a thing as a BUI, boating under the influence, so do not drink alcohol and boat. The Coast Guard said they increase their presence on the water during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

"Nobody likes whenever somebody's hurt, but we'll always be here, and we're on call 24/7 so we'll always respond," Coast Guard Petty Officer Brigitte Baskin said.

If you are looking for a place to check water conditions and more take a look at the Coast Guard smart phone app.

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