Coast Guard Warns: Stay Out of the Water…It’s Too Cold!

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- On this Memorial Day weekend, temperatures are cooperating, and that means plenty of people are spending time outside.

Many are taking advantage of the opportunity to go out on Lake Erie as well, and that has prompted a warning from the U.S. Coast Guard.

It may look like fun, but authorities explain swimming is not a good idea right now.

“The water temperature is still only 52 degrees out there, it is way colder than it usually is this time of year,” said Matthew Whalen, with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Whalen tells Fox 8 the harsh winter is to blame for the colder lake now, so don’t be deceived by the picturesque view.

"Your body is going to start shutting down as soon as you start to get cold,” he said.

Whalen said a person slips into hypothermia after about 30 minutes, and most would have a hard time dealing with the temperatures the lake is offering this weekend.

"On a day like this everyone wants to be outside,” Fritz Ahlers said.

Ahlers spent time walking along the Lake Erie shore Saturday with his shoes off. He said the beautiful sunny day was too good to pass up.

But there was no one in the water.

Edgewater Park was staffed with lifeguards at the beach, but most were in hooded sweatshirts.

Many people at the park said they didn’t feel disappointed when it comes to not swimming because it was just too chilly.

Danielle Nester and her daughter sat on a blanket with friends for a fun afternoon of conversation and fresh air.

"She's playing in the sand, enjoying the water, this is just wonderful for her,” Nester said.

Others were soaking up the Vitamin D as they sunbathed Saturday afternoon.

Whalen said soon it will be safe to go into the water, but the temperature has to be just right. He hopes people will continue to stay out of the water, even though it seems enticing to take a dip.

“Wait until it gets to 60, maybe even closer to 70 before you try to go in and go for a swim," he said.

When it is nice enough to swim though, Whalen stressed the importance of wearing a life jacket and using the buddy system when venturing out on the water for a boat ride or a swim.

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