Cold water challenge too risky
May 30, 2014
But for the past month or two, cold has been the theme — cold water challenges, that is.
It’s a craze that started who-knows-where and eventually made its way to Facebook, where friends would call out other friends, challenging them to take a dip in the frigid water or chicken out and donate a set amount of money to charity.
The fad began with adults, but quickly expanded to include children, too.
Some chose to turn down the challenge — to simply ignore it. Others at least had the good sense to venture to an inland lake, where the water temperature was a smidge warmer.
But some decided to brave the cold water challenge and dive into Lake Michigan, despite perilously cold water temperatures.
There are conflicting reports on whether or not Holland teen Jose Moreno was participating in a cold water challenge or not when he dove off the Holland pier last week.
What’s not up for debate is the tragic end to the story — Moreno’s body went into shock when it hit the 37-degree water, and he drowned.
This is a chilling reminder about the power — and the peril — of Lake Michigan.
Lake Michigan isn’t a backyard swimming pool, or even a small inland lake. It’s a huge, violent, unforgiving body of water that claims victims without discretion.
Our area beaches are wonderful places to take a dip in the lake’s cool waters, but those who enter the Big Lake need to know the risks, and take precautions.
Each year, Lake Michigan claims several victims right here in Grand Haven. Some are washed into the water when waves and high wind buffet the pier. Others venture into the surf despite red flags warning of unsafe conditions and are swept away by undertows or rip currents. Others are unable to cope with the cold temperatures and succumb to the lake’s icy grip.
This isn’t meant to scare you away from Lake Michigan. Please, enjoy this little slice of heaven. But treat Lake Michigan with the respect that it deserves, that it demands, and help avoid any more tragedies along our cherished lakesore.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.