Officials warn to be careful in northern Michigan's cold water

Local law enforcement officers and the Coast Guard want to remind everyone the rivers and bays around northern Michigan are still very cold.

The current temperature of most of our lakes, rivers, and bays is about 34 degrees - which can cause hypothermia within 15 minutes.

Although shivering is usually the first sign of hypothermia, in water this cold you may start to lose function in your hands and legs right away - making swimming almost impossible.

"Wear a life jacket because if you fall overboard you won't be able to get it on once you're actually in the water - so that's really important," said Commander Chris Chase of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City. "Tell somebody where you're going to be, and when you're expected back, so if you don't come back at a certain time we can actually go out there and look for you. Carry a marine board radio - a cell phone or a marine band radio - so you can call for help. And like I said dress for the water, that's the big thing - dress for the worst case scenario, which is falling in the water."

If you do see someone struggling in the water and can't get to them immediately to pull them out, the Coast Guard says you should call 911.

Commander Chase also noted that hypothermia can still occur in the summer. It can happen anytime the water temperature is below your body temperature, it will just take longer to set in. Officials remind you to always use proper precaution when near or on the water no matter what time of year.

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