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Lake Michigan water safety bill advances – Chicago Tribune


The possibility of a state measure aimed at protecting swimmers in Lake Michigan was raised further last week when the House Natural Resources Committee approved Senate Bill 253, known as the Lake Michigan Recovery Act.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Rodney Pol Jr., D-Chesterton, will be considered in the House on Monday, where it could be amended.

The bill mandates cities and towns along Lake Michigan to install life rings, safety lines and other rescue aid by July 1. Some cities, like Gary, already have rescue equipment provided by a Miller-based water safety organization.

Supporters say the equipment can save lives and help rescue swimmers caught in tides or other water emergencies. Illinois has already passed a similar law.

The estimated cost to install security equipment at approximately 104 access points is approximately $100,000. That amount is much lower than rescue searches for missing swimmers, Pol said.

Pol’s bill passed the Senate last year but was never heard in the House of Representatives. This time, the committee heard testimony and approved the changes by a 7-1 margin.

One of the amendments stated that owners of private lakeside homes would not need to install rescue equipment, while the second amendment stated that the equipment would not be needed in areas where swimming is prohibited or lifeguards are on duty.

Carole Carlson is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.


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