We in Michigan are all very proud of our Great Lakes, although I bet many who live in the state do not partake in their beauty as often as out of staters.  I say that because many who live around “vacation” spots never appreciate them enough until the move away, I say this from experience.

I just read an article in Mlive.com that compared swimming in the Great Lakes to “being in a giant washing machine”.  I never thought of it that way, perhaps because I do not swim in the Great Lakes as much as others to understand what the analogy.

I write this piece to alert as many as possible of the dangers of swimming in these giant “washing machines”. Scott Rozanski, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service office in Gaylord was quoted in the article stating:

The frequency of the waves is greater. It does make things a lot more difficult…They just keep battering you down a little bit. It's just a constant action that kind of wears you out.

According to the National Weather Service in one of their educational campaigns they advises people to:

Stay Dry When Waves are High…They come in fast, and close together…You have 3-5 seconds to recover if you get knocked down by a wave.


The waves generated by in the Great Lakes are mostly wind-whipped. Due to the waves being mostly wind-whipped they can be chaotic and come from all different directions.

So even if we accept the slogan from the popular t-shirts sold around the Great Lakes stating "No salt, No sharks, No problem", the waves can be a problem.  So certainly enjoy yourself at the Great Lakes just be aware of the waves and rip currents.

Have fun this summer but be safe while you do so.

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