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2023 Beach Safety Program

Click here to see Lake Condition Flags in South Haven

Click here to see current Great Lakes Beach Conditions

Click here to see current Lake Michigan conditions in South Haven

Click here to read City of South Haven Ordinance for Closing City Beach Waters and Piers

This QR code allows you to check the current status of the lake at our beaches.


Text 888777 BEACHES to receive regular updates throughout the summer.

The City of South Haven, Michigan has seven public beach accesses to Lake Michigan. The popular North and South beaches also provide access to the pierheads. Access is also available from Packard Park, Woodman Street, Dyckman Avenue, Oak Street and Newcombe Street. To keep these beaches safe for everyone’s enjoyment the City of South Haven has created a water safety program that is administered between May 15th and September 15th.


The public is advised that swimming is at their own risk. There are no lifeguards on duty at any public beach in South Haven. Signage is placed at all locations explaining the public's responsibilities when using the beaches and accessing the piers. In case of an emergency call 911. Emergency call boxes are located on the south and north beaches. When activated they connect with the 911 dispatch center.

Check current Great Lakes beach hazards Check current weather conditions in South Haven See South Haven Lake Michigan webcams

Lake Michigan conditions as determined by the National Weather Service are monitored by City of South Haven personnel. Beach warning flags are placed at the seven public beaches every day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The flags are changed throughout the day as lake conditions change. The flags are either green, yellow or red based on the conditions. Text 888777 BEACHES to receive regular updates throughout the summer.


When a GREEN flag is flying there are calm conditions. Caution should always be exercised when entering the water.

When a YELLOW flag is flying there is a moderate surf and/or currents. Caution should always be exercised when entering the water.


When the RED flag is flying the water is closed to the public due to the high surf and/or strong currents. Rip currents are especially prevelant and dangerous along the piers. The city has the authority to close the beaches and piers.

Click here to read City of South Haven Ordinance for Closing City Beach Waters and Piers

Learn more about rip currents


The City of South Haven has the authority to close the South and North Piers during high wave conditions. The Lake Michigan beaches in South Haven are closed on RED flag days. Violators are subject to arrest. Click here to read City of South Haven Ordinance for Closing City Beach Waters and Piers

A numbering system for South Haven's beach flag poles and pier safety boxes has been developed to assist during a time of emergency as a point of reference. The 14 beach flag poles are numbered 1 through 14. Number one flag pole starts at Newcombe beach, located on the city's far north beach access and progresses to the south ending at the Blue stairs beach flag pole 14. Each beach flag pole is labeled with the number located approximately seven feet above the base located on all four sides of the pole along with a white flag located near top of pole with the corresponding number located on it.

The Pier safety boxes are blue metal boxes that contain a portable flotation device with rope and a rope throw bag. There are three boxes located on the north pier and three on the south pier. The Pier safety boxes are numbered one through three with the corresponding letter “S” or “N” for South or North pier. The numbers for the pier safety boxes begin with the number one as you enter the pier and progress to number two and three. It is unlawful to dive or jump from a South Haven Lake Michigan pier. Swimming is prohibited within 50 feet of the piers.

The placement of life jacket loaner stations on South Haven's South and North beaches is part of an on-going effort to promote water safety in the South Haven community. Loaner life jackets ranging in size from infant to adult extra large are available free of charge to beach-goers. Users are asked to return the jackets to the stations when finished. The stations were made possible through a grant from the Rotary Club of South Haven and the on-going support of the Bronson-Safe Kids program.

Real time Lake Michigan conditions are provided from April thru October via a state-of-the-art buoy placed 2.5 miles offshore from South Haven. The buoy is sponsored by the South Haven Steeleaders with generous financial support from community businesses and organizations. Visit buoy website –

Community volunteers have formed the South Haven Ambassadors Program & Education (S.H.A.P.E). Founded in 2022, S.H.A.P.E. has led numerous successful campaigns that have produced real positive change within South Haven. Its goal is to create an improved level of safety for South Haven's main attraction-the lakeshore. We hope to promote a safe, family-oriented vacation destination through water safety education. Visit S.H.A.P.E. website –


public/beach_safety.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/27 11:41 by tomrenner