Cold Lake Michigan Water Temperatures Create Risk
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