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The most dangerous Great Lake: 23 people drowned in Lake Michigan so far in 2022

Lake Michigan beach at Leland, MI 07-22-2018 067.jpg
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 14:13:01-04

MILWAUKEE — At least 23 people have drowned in Lake Michigan so far this year - making it the most dangerous of the Great Lakes.

Data from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project records a total of 54 drownings in the Great Lakes in 2022.

Of those, 23 drownings occurred in Lake Michigan, including a 9-year-old girl who drowned in Gary, Indiana on Tuesday. That death has yet to be included in the data set.

The group meanwhile reported 1 drowning in Lake Superior, 4 in Lake Huron, 13 in Lake Erie and 13 in Lake Ontario.

A drowning vs. population density map from 2010–17 published in the Journal of Coastal Research shows the majority of drownings are occurring on the heavily populated shores of southern Lake Michigan. That stretches at its top in Sheboygan, around through Milwaukee and Chicago, and up to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

The study also found a high density of drownings per population along the Upper Peninsula's Lake Superior shoreline and on the coast of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York along lakes Erie and Ontario.

The National Weather Service has braced for dangerous conditions on Lake Michigan this week. They issued a "High Swim Risk" on beaches for Wednesday.

Beaches and pools across the nation are meanwhile struggling with a lifeguard shortage. A number of beaches on Lake Michigan this summer are going without lifeguards, with municipalities deciding to station what guards they do have at local pools.

Since 2010, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports a total of 1,099 drownings in the Great Lakes, as of July 12, 2022.

Just on Tuesday, a 5-year-old was pulled from the water in Kenosha and is now in the hospital in an unknown condition. A 9-year-old girl drowned in Lake Michigan in Gary, Indiana on the same day.

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