Treacherous undercurrents, rip currents, pollution and other factors cause Michigan to be home to two of the most dangerous lakes in the United States.

More than dangerous, these two lakes are also listed among the nation's most deadly.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan (Photo by Patrick McDermott, Getty Images )
Lake Michigan (Photo by Patrick McDermott, Getty Images )

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, at least 43 people have drowned in Lake Michigan in 2022. That's more than any other lake in the United States. The state of Michigan shares its namesake lake with Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin as well; however, 11 of this year's drownings in Lake Michigan are reported to have occurred off the Mitten State's shores.

What makes Lake Michigan so dangerous? points out that due to its shape and size, Lake Michigan is prone to dangerous rip currents and undercurrents that can surprise even the most skilled of swimmers.

This year's deaths in Lake Michigan include a kayaker who was participating in a downwind race, a pair of boaters whose navigation system failed, and a man who fell through a frozen ice shelf on the lake back in the winter and found himself submerged beneath the ice. ranks Lake Michigan as the most dangerous lake in America; as does A similar survey by lists Lake Michigan at #4.

Lake Erie

Lake Erie (Photo by Michael Henry, Unsplash)
Lake Erie (Photo by Michael Henry, Unsplash)

The smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is still treacherous enough to land on several lists of the nation's most dangerous lakes.

While drownings can and do occur in Lake Erie, they tend to happen less frequently compared to the much larger Lake Michigan. Lake Erie's main cause of danger is different.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, which allows it to warm and cool more quickly than the others. The warming each summer is one of the factors that contributes to a massive annual algae bloom in the middle of the lake, which has choked off the fresh water and caused much of Lake Erie to be uninhabitable for fish, mussels or any other sorts of wildlife for more than a half-century. According to, other factors include increased levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the lake due to runoff from a variety of sources.

The algae bloom is also responsible for creating biotoxins that can be harmful to humans - especially problematic in regard to water purification, since millions rely on Lake Erie as a drinking water supply.

Both and rank Lake Erie as the 8th most dangerous lake in the United States.

Check Out the 20 Largest Inland Lakes in Michigan

Michigan boasts over 11,000 lakes throughout the state. Check out the 20 largest lakes in Michigan here. 

See 50+ Examples of Michigan Lakes That Share the Same Name

Michigan has 19 Long Lakes, 10 Indian Lakes, 8 Silver Lakes, and so many more. See 50+ examples right here. See all the lakes and what county they are in below.

More From WKFR