MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Lake Superior is a great lake to enjoy on a hot summer day like today, however, it doesn’t come without its dangers. Rip currents are in a few places around the Marquette area, including McCarty’s Cove which is right behind me, or just up the road near Picnic Rocks. Unlike the waves that we often see coming and washing on shore, the rip currents are streams moving in the opposite direction toward deeper water.
Rip currents can sometimes be seen where the rip currents are located, but lifeguards told me that you are more likely to feel the movement going away from the shore.
“With that movement, you can kind of tell if you look up and you’re not where you were just at like a couple of minutes ago or a couple of seconds ago that’s usually a rip you can also identify rip currents by discoloration of water with sand displacement,” said Marquette Head Lifeguard Ryan Leach.
If you are at the beach and you see a stream of sand almost like a river heading out towards deeper water lifeguards tell me that is also a sign of rip currents. An easy way to get out of rip currents is to swim parallel to the shore, as rip currents aren’t typically strong enough in lake water. If you do find yourself tired, they say it’s always best just to put your hand in the air and wave for help.
“But if you aren’t able to swim and the current’s too strong it’s always best just to lay on your back and try to paddle try to stay afloat and try to wave for help try to signal to one of the lifeguards that you’re in distress or try to signal to anyone that you need help,” continued Leach.
Lifeguards tell me that the speed and danger level of these rip currents is typically up to circumstance, but that some areas like the waters near picnic rocks are a breeding ground for rip currents which is why it’s banned from swimming.
It may be beautiful out here, but Lake Superior certainly doesn’t come without its risks year-round.