ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – Escanaba’s Municipal Beach on Aronson Island is officially open for the season.
This year’s opening date is a week earlier than usual, giving beachgoers a head start on summer. Escanaba Recreation Department director Kim Peterson says the decision was made due to the large number of people already looking to get outside and enjoy the lake.
“We had some unseasonably warm weather the last few weeks,” Peterson said. “Of course this week is going to be colder out, but it’s going to be great that we’re going to open up a week earlier.”
The beach house is also open during the day, equipped with indoor restrooms and showers and an outdoor rinsing area.
Lifeguards will be on duty to keep swimmers safe. However, the City is still looking for more lifeguards to join the team.
“Staffing has been very difficult, and the City of Escanaba is not alone,” said Peterson. “A lot of the other communities are struggling as well. We hope to have eleven people on because we man the beach with three people, if possible.”
Lifeguard certification courses are available through the Northern Lights YMCA. The courses cost $249 for YMCA members and $300 for non-members. Peterson says getting certified is a worthwhile investment.
“We can guarantee them a job for the next several years,” she said. “As long as they do a good job for us the first year, we will hire them back in the future.”
Escanaba Public Safety is also working to make sure the beach is a safe place. According to Officer Dustin Stempki, the department is increasing patrols around the island for the season.
Stempki says the biggest issues Escanaba Public Safety sees during the summer are young people jumping off the Aronson Island Bridge into the lake, littering, and vandalism–which he says could result in consequences.
“You could be looking at a civil infraction or a misdemeanor of some sort if you vandalize or destruct the beach or the property,” Stempki said.
Those visiting the island with dogs are asked to keep them on leashes and to clean up after them. Swimmers are to make sure they are visible in the water when boaters are nearby, especially at the marina.
Stempki says we should all make an effort to be courteous toward others so everyone can enjoy the beach.
“The beach and the park is here as a privilege to the people,” he said. “The City maintains it, and if everybody works on keeping it clean and reporting any suspicious activity, it’s a great experience for everybody.”
The Escanaba Municipal Beach is now open and guarded daily from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
To learn more about getting lifeguard certification through the YMCA, click here.