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      Beaches open, flags flying

      With the summer beach season upon us, the Marquette Fire Department has begun its flag advisory system to indicate swimming conditions. The fire department is acting on behalf of the waterfront safety task force.

      The task force was created by the Marquette City Commission in 2010 and serves to alert swimmers if waves and rip currents pose a danger at local beaches. The beaches are now open and lifeguards are on duty at South Beach and McCarty's Cove.

      "The beaches are attractive; it's important for people to know that we have two guarded beaches. They're large beaches. It is about keeping people safe. The program is constant; we're always trying to come up with new ideas to increase that safety and to lower the risk," said Marquette Fire Chief Tom Belt.

      The system uses colored flags to alert swimmers. A green flag means calm waves, yellow means waves from two to four feet, and red means high hazard, no swimming. For more information on the swimming conditions, click here.