ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – It’s a warning from the Coast Guard to swimmers on Lake Michigan: Beware of rip currents.
A man drowned on Tuesday after jumping from the south pier at Silver Beach in St. Joseph. The Coast Guard said rip currents possibly contributed to his death.
Witnesses say the man jumped in and then resurfaced. He yelled for help, but then immediately went back under.
Rescue teams found his body a short while later in seven feet of water.
Sgt. Steve Neubecker of the St. Joseph Police Department Wednesday morning said investigators are still trying to identify the victim.
The sun is scorching.
The water is tempting.
What better way to cool down than taking a dive in Lake Michigan?
But before you jump, think of the consequences.
"There are rocks that protrude off the sides of the pier, and then also the water and the currents splashing...they can pull you under," said David Perrin with the Coast Guard.
Police said the man that jumped off the pier on Tuesday was sucked under three to four-foot waves.
"The rip currents were very bad. The wind was coming from the south, which creates that effect on the south pier," Perrin said.
The Coast Guard helped recover the man's body. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"I don't think it’s a smart decision jumping off the pier, because of currents and stuff," said visitor Ryan Atterberry.
Atterberry watched all his friend make the jump Tuesday. Apparently the day’s drowning didn't alert them to the dangers of taking a dive.
The Coast Guard had a rip current risk in place on Tuesday.That means the waters were somewhat threatening -- winds were about 20 mph.
The waves built momentum throughout the afternoon. The risk could be upgraded to a warning on Wednesday if winds reach 25 to 30 mph.
But even then they can't force people out of the water, and they definitely can't stop them from jumping in.
"If it was my decision, I would try to ban it for good to make sure that any incidents like what happened today don't happen again," Atterberry said.
There is a statewide pier jumping ban in Michigan. St. Joseph does not enforce that law because the pier on Silver Beach is not a city-owned pier – so technically it's not illegal to jump out there.
This is the first drowning at Silver beach this year.
Two people drowned last summer in the Silver Beach area.