Two ticketed after swimming pier to pier

Two Grand Valley State University students were ticketed for violating a Grand Haven city ordinance after swimming from the south pier to the north pier Wednesday afternoon, said Lt. Renee Freeman of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. GHDPS officers and Coast Guard Station Grand Haven personnel responded to the Grand River channel at 1:43 p.m. when they were alerted to a possible water rescue of two people swimming across the channel.
Becky Vargo
Jun 9, 2011


The red flag was posted at Grand Haven State Park on what was supposed to be one of the hottest days of the summer so far — a draw for many college and high school students just finishing school for the year. Red flag means swimming is dangerous and people should stay out of the lake.

The 22-year-old Holland man and the 20-year-old Saline man were met by police after their swim across the channel, while a crowd lining the south pier watched.

Freeman said both men made it safely across the channel, but were ticketed for violating the city ordinance which prohibits swimming in the channel (Section 18-61).

The fine associated with the civil infraction is $50, she said.

Freeman cautioned people to remember the possible dangers of swimming in Lake Michigan “especially of jumping from the piers.”

“It is against the law to swim or jump into the channel and enforcement action will be taken accordingly,” she said. “We ask that persons visiting the beach be ever mindful of the water conditions by monitoring the posted warning flags at the state park.”

Freeman added that people should remember that risk takers endanger themselves and the persons trying to save them.

Logan Sabo of Spring Lake and Mac Jermstad of Grand Haven, both Spring Lake High School graduates, said they were in the area and rode their bikes out to the pier when they heard the sirens and saw police heading that way.

“It’s just something you don’t do around here,” Sabo said as the wind whipped sand across the dune. “It’s not worth it just to impress a couple of friends.”



I am disappointed that these two were simply fined. I have seen in other places where people who have disregarded warnings provided for their safety were charged the cost of responding and providing search and rescue efforts if necessary. Yesterday, GHPS and the Coast Guard were called out. Luckily, this was not yet another water related tragedy. Perhaps thought should be given to assessing costs for irresponsible acts.

Sparky Johnson

Cassiekitty, what are you suggesting, maybe tar and feather them on the beach?

Sheesh. Call out the paddy wagon! Red alert, dangerous thugs swimming in the water.


Sparky, have you been there when a teen has drowned in Lake Michigan? It's devastating. Thank you to GHPS and the rest of the community for being proactive in their efforts to keep people from swimming the channel, and keeping lives safe. There are too many boaters in the channel during the summer that would not see these swimmers. Anything GHPS and the rest of the community can do to keep these tragic, senseless accidents from happening is worth it.


I got a $100 dollar fine for a few mph over in the city. OK, my fault...however it was not intentional. These guys are adults who intended to violate the law. The also wasted the resources of the National Guard, who, I'm sure have nothing better to do. A lot of people have total lack of respect for the lake...maybe they have never had a close call. The $50 is a joke, and they were probably chugging 'em down afterward, laughing about the whole thing. GHPS.....good job, I'm sure they are still shook up.


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