We All Know There are No Sharks in Lake Michigan

Shark signs are posted at our non-swimming beaches as a reminder that a lifeguard is not present, and swimming is prohibited. Because swimming off a Lake Michigan beach without a lifeguard on duty can be as dangerous as swimming in shark-infested waters.

The Dangers of the Lake

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP), Lake Michigan ranks as the deadliest Great Lake where dangerous shoreline currents and strong waves are common. Lake Michigan is 307 miles long and 118 miles at its widest point. When northerly winds travel the length of Lake Michigan, it has a lot of “fetch” to create dangerous currents and high waves. In its simplest term, lake fetch is the maximum length of open water wind can travel. Waves form by the wind. The longer wind blows over a long expanse of water, the more energy builds up, creating bigger, high-energy waves, and those waves create dangerous currents.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project tracks all drownings that happen on the Great Lakes. Since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked over 950 Great Lakes drownings. More than ½ of those drownings happened on Lake Michigan, and ½ of those drownings occurred at this southern tip of the lake (Milwaukee to Chicago to Northwest Indiana to Southwest Michigan).

Lifeguards Save Lives! Be Smart!

Only swim at a beach with a lifeguard on duty. Rosewood Beach, located at 883 Sheridan Road, is our designated swimming beach and lifeguards are on duty every day from 10am-6pm from Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day.  For more information on Rosewood Beach, click here.

Signs of Drowning

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S. and the world. According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death in children 1-4, and #2 in children under 15. Most people who drown are good swimmers. Unlike in movies, drowning happens quickly and often quietly. Drowning victims are often silently trying to stay above water, facing the shore and making motions as if they are climbing a ladder. Their body will be in a vertical position in the water, head back, and mouth at water level.

The Timeline of Drowning Survivability:

Life Rings & Lake Michigan Rescue Equipment Act

Per the Lake Michigan Rescue Equipment Act, all of our beaches are equipped with life rings.

Life Ring Locations

  • Rosewood Beach
  • Millard Beach
  • Moraine Beach
  • Park Ave Boating Facility

Tampering or Misuse of Life Rings

Theft of Government Property Is a Class 4 Felony: The Park District of Highland Park will prosecute any theft of this life safety device under 720 ILCS 5/16-1.

Report broken or missing equipment to 847.831.3968.

How to Use a Life Ring

  • If possible, send someone else to call 911 emergency services
  • Pick up life ring and grab the rope
  • Throw life ring beyond victim
  • Draw into victim’s grasp
  • Pull victim steadily to safety

Lakefront Drowning Report

Per the Act, each unit of local government owning a pier or drop-off on Lake Michigan shall track and, at a minimum of twice per year, publish on the unit’s website a report on lakefront drownings of which the unit is aware that have occurred within 100 feet of the unit’s piers and drop-offs.

Beach Regulations

To ensure Rosewood Beach is enjoyable for all, visitors are expected to exhibit appropriate behavior at all times. It is required that all patrons adhere to our Behavior Management Policy. Your compliance is required and appreciated.

Critical Life-Saving Tips from the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium

Life jackets are cool but drowning? Not so much. Navy Seals are the best swimmers in the world, and they wear them. You don’t put your seat belt or bike helmet on as you’re crashing. Don’t just bring it, wear it!


Contact Us

Assistant Director of Recreation
Aquatics Manager