Memorial Day weekend brought near-perfect weather across Michigan.

Many enjoyed the water over the holiday.

Even with outdoor temperatures in the 80s, the cold waters of Lake Michigan still create a big risk.

On May 27, water temperatures in Lake Michigan were in the mid-40s to mid-50s for much of West Michigan. Just to the north, water temperatures in Lake Michigan were in the mid-30s to mid-40s.

The U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes provides estimates on water temperature/time it takes to lose consciousness.

  • 0°-32°, < 15 minutes
  • 33°-40°, 15-30 minutes
  • 41°-50°, 30-60 minutes
  • 51°-60°, 1-2 hours
  • 61°-70°, 2-7 hours
  • 71°-80°, 3-12 hours
  • Over 80°, indefinite

The USCG shares life-saving information about how to survive the cold water.

  • Always carry a life jacket or floating device, not just to keep afloat, but also to decrease the energy you would otherwise have to use to stay afloat by swimming
  • Do not try to swim (you’re losing heat energy!) to shore, unless the it is reachable or very close…many times people misjudge how close the shore may be
  • Devote your effort to getting out of the water only if you are very near the shoreline or are able to climb atop a nearby floating object
  • You must stay calm to decrease the chances of losing body heat at a faster rate
  • Stay clothed to keep body heat closer to the body
  • If in a group, huddle together to preserve heat

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