Lake Michigan is a beautiful lake surrounded by beautiful beaches, but a lake this size requires a level of respect because sometimes it can take a life.

We hear the stories every summer about the rip tides that sweep swimmers out. Some are able to make it out and others unfortunately do not.

On my recent vacation, we spent several days on Lake Michigan at the beach and every day was really nice with minimum to no waves, except the last day. The waves were really high and as a kid, they just see a lot of fun. As a parent, I felt like a nervous lifeguard who knew conditions were right for riptides.

I didn't let my boys go out very far and spent most of the time in the water right next to my seven-year-old playing in the waves very close to shore. It was one day that I didn't relax at the beach and we were only there for a few hours.

My heart goes out to the family of a 44-year-old man from Indiana who lost his life trying to save his two children who were struggling in Lake Michigan at Lions Park Beach.

According to WOOD, the man drowned when trying to save his two children ages 12 and 17 who were swept away by an undertow.

The two children were saved by St. Joseph Reserve Officer Everett Gaston. There were two more people who were also struggling but a man on a surfboard was able to pull them to safety.

The beach is such a fun place but a lake the size of Lake Michigan can be unforgiving.

So what should you do if you’re caught in a rip current? Swim parallel to the shore, out of the path of the current. Once you’re out of the current, you can swim back in to shore. Most rip currents are 50 to 100 feet wide, so you shouldn’t have to swim too far to escape its pull.

It’s also wise to know how to identify rip currents before you enter the water. Look for a channel of smooth surface water where waves appear lower and whitecaps are less prominent. If you see one, that may be a rip, so you should try to avoid it.

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