ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Rescue life rings are expected to be installed on a southwest Michigan pier along the shores of Lake Michigan before Memorial Day weekend.
St. Joseph commissioners have approved a plan for a dozen life rings along the city's North Pier where historic lighthouses are located.
The city was one of the few communities along Lake Michigan that hadn't installed rings on its pier. The 20-inch rings and 90-foot-throw lines are estimated to cost about $6,450. An anonymous donor has helped cover some expenses, bringing the final cost around $5,000, according to City Manager John Hodgson.
He said St. Joseph is concerned with liability, but Mayor Mike Garey stressed that saving lives should be the top priority.
City officials previously discussed installing the rescue devices, but commissioners expressed concern over the rings being stolen or going missing.
The piers were equipped with life rings in 1994, but 200 of them turned up missing that summer. More than 20 were never recovered.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Berrien County and the city of St. Joseph abandoned the effort over liability concerns.
The Berrien County Sheriff's Department has volunteered to inspect the pier daily to check on any missing rings and make sure they're replaced.
Two men from Paw Paw were rescued after running into trouble while kayaking off the St. Joseph Michigan South Pier.
The rescue took place just after 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, when one of the kayaks began taking on water and starting to sink.
The other kayaker was fine and tried to help the person in trouble.
One of the kayakers had a cell phone and called 911.
Both kayakers were rescued by the Berrien County Marine Unit and the U.S. Coast Guard.