South Haven Council discussing possible lifeguard program


Could lifeguards be coming back to the city of South Haven’s beaches? The South Haven City Council is talking about it as the public asks for more protections for swimmers.

At a meeting this past week, council members asked City Manager Kate Hosier about her latest look into the issue. Hosier said bringing back lifeguards would be tricky.

“I do know that there is a push for having a lifeguard program this year,” Hosier said. “However, there’s also a capacity issue. Do you want a good life safety program? Do you want a safe program, or do you want a fast program? At best, I can give you two out of three.”

Hosier said there needs to be more discussion. Council member Joe Reeser said he doesn’t blame anyone, but he does think it’s time for some movement on the question.

“The frustration I think a lot of people have is that we talked about this a year ago and we ran out of time and now we’re talking about it and it has finally come up again and it feels like we’re under the gun that we’re going to run out of time. And when it comes to people’s lives and safety, I don’t know why we keep running out of time, how this keeps happening.”

Hosier said details will be provided to council members at a March 5 work session, and the matter will be further explored during a priority setting meeting on March 11.

There have been no lifeguards at South Haven’s beaches for more than two decades. The city ended the program due to liability and how much it cost for insurance. Recent deaths have prompted the public to question whether lifeguards could be brought back.

The council last considered reinstating lifeguards in 2021 and opted not to do so.