Lake Michigan water levels reach record low - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Lake Michigan water levels reach record low

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"We're seeing a decline of people going out boating," says Tyler Ambrose, Head Technician at Brian's Marina.

It's easy to see why, just look at the rocks and posts out in the water and you can see how low the Lake Michigan Water level is.

Ambrose says the shallow water is making boating tough. "The water level's too low. It's been too low for quite a number of years now to comfortably get them in and out in the fall."

In fact this past fall he says some boats actually got stuck when they were trying to bring them in for storage. "If we had more water depth we wouldn't be turning away sailboats. That's a large part of what would fill us up here. We're running probably 80% capacity or maybe even less."

As a boat owner himself, he says it can be risky taking your boat out in shallow water. Not only do they get stuck, but if they strike bottom they can be badly damaged. "It does mean less opportunities to get out during good weather. This last year we had a lot of good weather, but a lot of shallow water, so most people just stayed at their docks."

Experts say the levels are down because of the mild winter and dry summer. Which may be bad for boaters, but not for beach-goers.

"From our tourism standpoint, we had a fantastic year despite the lows," says Jill Stone, Director of St. Joseph Welcome Center. 

She says they worry more about low temperatures than low water levels. In fact, last year tourism went up 15 percent. "From a tourism standpoint, we hope for the nicer, drier, warmer weather."

That's the weather that Stone says keeps people heading to the beach, no matter how deep it is.

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