Mary Jane Wolf, Kim Massa, and Debbie Hess are close friends who live in St. Joseph. They live in paradise ... at least they think so.
"We really are blessed to live in this area," says Hess.
The pristine beaches, the beautiful views, and the great swimming in the summer makes St. Joseph a prime tourist spot and a great place to live.
"I try to do the beach couple times a week," says Massa who has a house right on the beach.
They all have lived here long enough to know ... every year this beautiful lake can turn deadly.
"This lake is nothing to mess around with. It is called Lake Michigan but it is really a fresh water ocean," says Officer Jeffrey Catanzarite, U.S. Coast Guard.
Last year, according to the National Weather Service, 15 people died in the great lakes ... and a majority of those deaths were on lake Michigan.
The US Coast Guard helps with search and rescue. Officers say, be aware of conditions that can cause rip tides and if you get caught up in one, don't try to swim against it. Instead, swim horizontally until you are out of it or save your energy and stay with current until it disperses.
Always keep an eye on your children ... even if lifeguards are present.
"You have to watch your children constantly," says Hess, "the waves come fast it just takes a second. You have to always watch them."
"This year, I bought my son a neon yellow bathing suit so I can spot him constantly," says Wolf.
It is also a good idea to avoid the lake if there is a red flag warning.
"It is danger when the red flag is up," says Massa.
The ladies enjoy living right on the water but they know sometimes it is best enjoyed from the beach.
- Don't drink and boat. Drunk driving laws apply.