Lake Michigan once again has nearly double the drowning deaths of any other Great Lake and could beat the record number of drownings set just two years ago.

It Was A Deadly Week For Lake Michigan

Turbulent conditions contributed to four deaths since Tuesday along the Lake Michigan shoreline, brining the total to 24 dead, with two people pulled from the water still in critical condition. That puts Lake Michigan back on pace for a record number of drownings, which was set in 2020 with 53.

Three of the dead claimed this week were children, a nine year old girl who drowned in heavy waves Tuesday near Gary, Indiana, a seven year old from Texas who drowned in South Haven Wednesday, and a 16 year old boy who drowned off Ferrysburg later on Wednesday night.

The fourth death was a 33 year old man, who died in the same incident as the seven year old Wednesday in South Haven.

In Kenosha, WISN in Milwaukee reports that a 5-year-old boy was pulled from Lake Michigan Tuesday night at Pennoyer Park in Kenosha. His condition is currently unknown.

Red flags, indicating a high swim risk condition, were flying in Michigan on Wednesday.

This infographic was already out of date as of Wednesday.

Aaron Burden via Unsplash
Aaron Burden via Unsplash

Lake Michigan Is More Deadly For A Number Of Reasons

First, it has the largest number people living along its 1638 miles of shoreline, with major population centers like Chicago and Milwaukee alone accounting for over 10 million people living within thirty miles of the shore.

Second, the predominant north and west winds sweeping across the Lake can churn it up in a matter of minutes, causing rip currents, which are one of the leading causes of drownings in the summer months.

Add to that a shortage of lifeguards manning the tall chairs this summer, and it's no wonder the numbers are back up.

The web site AZAnimals sums up the dangers of swimming in Lake Michigan this way:

It has very strong undercurrents that lead to many deaths each year. Many swimmers have lost their lives at the sudden change in the waters. Lake Michigan is no stranger to boating accidents, either. In the fall, Lake Michigan is even more dangerous as changes in water and temperatures occur. The lake is considered to be the deadliest in the United States.

Lake Michigan Drowning Totals Nearly Double Any Other Great Lake

According To The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, the 24 deaths in 2022 are nearly double the next highest totals on the Great Lakes, which is 13 deaths in Lake Erie and 13 deaths in Lake Ontario, both of whom also have large population centers on them, with Cleveland along Lake Erie, and Toronto on Lake Ontario.

Lake Huron has registered just 4 deaths along it shores, and Lake Superior, the coldest and deepest of the Great Lakes, notching a single death so far in 2022.


Lake Michigan Residents Respect The Lake, Outsiders, Not So Much

It's not surprising that a sizable portion of the drownings in Lake Michigan are children, who lack the experience to understand the danger, or adults from outside the state who don't respect the danger.

Drowning totals on all of the Great Lakes have been up in the last four years, hitting a modern era all time high of 118 in 2018, dropping to 97 in 2019, and hitting triple figures again in 2020 with 108 and last year, 2021 with 100.

Peggy Sue Zinn via Unsplash
Peggy Sue Zinn via Unsplash

Take A Look At Lake Michigan's USS LST 393, Which Took Troops To Normandy on D-Day

The USS LST 393 is one of only 2 remaining LST which supplied troops and goods to soldiers in WWII out of the 1,051 that were made. This ship also serves as a museum of wars past.

House Perched on Unstable Lake Michigan Bluff Just Sold for a Quarter Million Dollars

A house in Racine, Wisconsin sits uneasily on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan that is in danger of eroding away.




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