SENATE BILL No. 818

 

 

November 10, 2011, Introduced by Senators PROOS, PAPPAGEORGE, PAVLOV, HANSEN, MEEKHOF, MOOLENAAR, GLEASON, JONES, HOPGOOD, BOOHER and CASPERSON and referred to the Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.

 

 

 

     A bill to amend 1994 PA 451, entitled

 

"Natural resources and environmental protection act,"

 

by amending section 80198b (MCL 324.80198b), as amended by 2007 PA

 

8.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

     Sec. 80198b. (1) The owner or person in charge of a bathing

 

beach maintained primarily for public use shall not knowingly

 

permit a person to bathe or swim from the bathing beach unless

 

buoys outlining a safe bathing or swimming area are established in

 

accordance with section 80159.

 

     (2) A person who is bathing or swimming from a bathing beach

 

maintained primarily for public use shall not bathe or swim in

 

waters that are within 100 feet beyond the buoyed bathing or

 


swimming area. This subsection does not apply to persons swimming

 

from adjacent privately owned beaches that are not open to the

 

general public.

 

     (3) At each designated bathing beach along the Great Lakes,

 

the owner or person in charge of the bathing beach shall utilize a

 

flag signal system to alert beach users of water conditions at the

 

bathing beach. The flag signal system shall include all of the

 

following:

 

     (a) The flag signals shall be maintained throughout the

 

swimming season as defined by use patterns and seasons and shall

 

indicate the potential for adverse water conditions.

 

     (b) Flags shall be triangular in shape and a minimum of 18

 

inches on the side parallel with the flag staff and extend a

 

minimum of 36 inches when measured at right angles to the flag

 

staff edge.

 

     (c) A flag and explanatory sign shall be located near the

 

entrance to the designated bathing beach. Additional flags and

 

explanatory signs shall be strategically located on the beach

 

itself. The number and placement of flag staffs on the beach shall

 

be designed so that a visitor anywhere in the designated swimming

 

area will have clear vision of at least 1 flag.

 

     (d) Faded or tattered flags shall be replaced as needed.

 

     (e) Flags shall consist of the following colors based upon the

 

potential for adverse water conditions, as follows:

 

     (i) A green flag shall represent lake conditions generally

 

considered safe for swimming, in which an undertow or rip tide is

 

not expected, there is minimal wave action, there is minimal wind,

 


longshore currents are undetectable, and the water is clean.

 

     (ii) A yellow flag shall represent lake conditions generally

 

considered moderately dangerous for swimming, consisting of 2- to

 

4-foot waves, but without an expectation for an undertow or rip

 

tide, and a longshore current of not more than 50 feet per minute.

 

In addition, strong offshore winds may be present creating

 

conditions in which inflatable devices are not safe in the water.

 

     (iii) A red flag shall represent lake conditions that are

 

considered extremely dangerous for swimming, consisting of waves

 

over 4 feet, a very strong undertow or riptide, longshore currents

 

of more than 50 feet per minute, a contaminated water advisory, or

 

a combination of any of these conditions.

 

     (4) At each designated bathing beach along the Great Lakes,

 

the owner or person in charge of the bathing beach shall erect a

 

sign that describes a riptide and the best techniques for swimming

 

safely out from a riptide.

 

     (5) The department shall post on the department's website the

 

water conditions at designated bathing beaches along the Great

 

Lakes that are under ownership or control of the department. In

 

addition, the owner or person in charge of a designated bathing

 

beach along the Great Lakes, other than the department, may report

 

the water conditions at the bathing beach to the department, which

 

shall post those conditions on the department's website.

 

     (6) (3) A person who violates this section is responsible for

 

a state civil infraction and may be ordered to pay a civil fine of

 

not more than $500.00.

 

     (7) As used in this section:

 


     (a) "Designated bathing beach" means that portion of a bathing

 

beach maintained primarily for public use that is designated by the

 

owner or person in control of the bathing beach for swimming.

 

     (b) "Longshore current" means a current caused by wind that

 

runs parallel to shore and sometimes travels in excess of 120 feet

 

per minute.

 

     (c) "Riptide" means an undercurrent that occurs when strong

 

winds form large waves which crash onto the beach, then flow back

 

down under the incoming waves to form a strong undercurrent that

 

flows out into the lake.