Polar Plunge 2018: Hundreds gather to splash and dash in frigid Lake Michigan; “Refreshing, that’s for sure”

MILWAUKEE -- It was an absolutely frigid start to 2018. But it wasn't cold enough to keep hundreds of people from gathering at Bradford Beach on Milwaukee's lakefront on Monday, January 1st. They were there to take part in the annual Polar Plunge.

The temperature at the time of the actual plunge was only in the single digits. The water was in the low to mid 30s. But neither of those numbers seemed to discourage those who gathered to take part in this splash and dash in Lake Michigan.

Polar Plunge 2018 at Bradford Beach, Milwaukee

For the men and women of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, it was a new record. The troops were stationed at Bradford Beach on Monday -- and according to Mike Nuoffer, this was the Wing's 27th and coldest year yet.

"As far as static temperatures, this is the coldest," Nuoffer said.

Polar Plunge 2018 at Bradford Beach, Milwaukee

Campfires and propane heaters lined the beach while members of the Milwaukee Fire Department's "Dive Rescue Team" waded in the lake.

"They are going to be out there in the lake diving, so in case anyone locks up out there, they are right there on the scene," said Alex Breyer of the 128th Air Refueling Wing.

The party began around 11:00 a.m. -- and the actual plunge happened with a horn blowing around noon.

Polar Plunge 2018 at Bradford Beach, Milwaukee

"Refreshing, that's for sure. It kind of takes your breath away, but it was fun," said one person who took the plunge.

"It was cold!" said another.


"I've got on about three pairs of socks under these tennis shoes. I had to buy extra big tennis shoes to walk in," said yet another brave polar plunger.

Polar plunges in Kenosha and Port Washington were canceled due to the dangerously cold temperatures.