If you receive an emergency alert while boating, do not wait for further warning. Getting to port can take a long time and the sooner you take action to get to the nearest port may be necessary to keep you safe. It is important to "know before you go". This means it is important for you to understand the lake and weather conditions for the time you plan to be under way before you depart. Conditions on Lake Michigan can change rapidly and sometimes with little or no advanced warning.
Monitoring for Emergencies
Tune to the marine channel 16 (156.8 MHz) or to an area AM/FM radio station listed on the EAS pages for emergency information. Mariners are encouraged to keep their radios tuned to channel 16 when on Lake Michigan to receive emergency information. During the recreation season, marine patrol boats will also warn boaters on Lake Michigan if there is a serious emergency.
You will be told the location of safe waterways and docking areas. NOAA weather radios may also provide you County Warning information. The LaPorte Tower is known to offer the strongest coverage into Lake Michigan for Berrien County; however, there may be coverage gaps in the extreme northern end of Berrien County near Hagar Township. IPAWS-WEA, and cell phones may have limited coverage on Lake Michigan, so it is important to have secondary options of Marine Band radios and NOAA Weather radios to monitor conditions while on the Lake. Channel 16 is monitored by the US Coast Guard and should be considered the Lake Michigan equivalent of 911. Especially when cell service is limited and calling 911 on a cell phone may not work, a marine band radio can be a literal lifeline for hailing help.