Dangerous Piers  Deadly Currents

   This was a project begun twenty years ago to provide the newly formed Grand Haven Pier Safety Task Force a history of fatalities at the Grand Haven piers.   It eventually evolved into a workbook for safety groups and encompassed not only the fatalities, but also pier rescues, survivals and response to the various incidents.  It was instrumental to a very good pier safety analysis which was the basis for the type and position of the emergency call box installed on the Grand Haven south pier.  Besides pier safety the project included much information regarding beach rip current incidents as well.  There even was a Marquette, Michigan edition of the workbook created in the late 1990s.

   There has not been a major revision/expansion of the book in over ten years.  Unfortunately, Since then a number of additional pier and beach fatalities have occurred at Grand Haven.  Also, there has been a great deal more research done resulting in the accumulation of a large amount of new information, analysis and ideas for proposals.

   The new edition began in August of 2007 to provide incident data for Great Lakes Surfing Association's Surf Rescue project training exercises at Grand Haven.   Much of the early groundwork for this edition can be seen on the Sand Hill City G. L. S. A. site at:  http://www.sandhillcity.com/new_page_25.htm

   Already this new edition, along with the development of the G. L. S. A. Surf Rescue project, has been very valuable in a presentation to the Michigan Legislature, to show the valuable contributions of lake surfers to beach and pier safety, not to mention the numerous rescues lake surfers have performed over the years.  This presentation to the State of Michigan played an important part in the surfer exclusion amendment to the present state pier jumping bill.         

  Another source of  good information regarding waterfront safety on the Great Lakes can be found at the Great Lakes Beach & Pier Safety Task Force website www.respectthepower.org.

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