FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 30, 2011
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
· Dave Benjamin, Class Organizer & Media Relations
· Bob Pratt, Class Instructor & Water Safety Expert
Deadliest Weekend - Great Lakes Drownings Reach 62
Labor Day Weekend Rip Current Alerts!
GREAT LAKES, USA – Last weekend was the deadliest rip current weekend in 2011. Five people drowned in Lake Michigan, bringing its total to 31. Overall, Great Lakes drownings has reached 62.
The Latest drowning victim
Valparaiso University student, Rayan Sami A Bokhari, is the 62nd person to drown in the Great Lakes in 2011. Bokhari, and eight friends, all VU students, had arrived at Porter Beach after being turned away from Indiana Dunes State Park because swimming was restricted due to high waves and rip currents. His body was recovered Monday afternoon after he went missing at Porter Beach.
Ryan Gerard, the owner of Third Coast Surf Shop in New Buffalo and St. Joseph, MI was at the beach at the time of the incident.
“We witnessed the recovery efforts and his friends frantically searching from the beach. It was sad, but there was nothing anyone could do once his head dipped under the last time,” said Ryan Gerard. “Nobody knew where he was. Talk about a helpless feeling.”
To Wilmette, IL resident, Steve Fuchs, Great Lakes drownings are hard to understand because he’s a surfer that recently moved from Los Angeles. The west coast does not see these drowning numbers because of ocean lifeguards and public awareness about the surf conditions.
“It's a major issue around the Great Lakes,” said Steve Fuchs. “I had no idea. It is borderline bizarre.”
“Lake Michigan is not dangerous if you are prepared to handle the conditions. Many surfers dream for huge waves, wind, and the conditions that the general public is not prepared to handle,” Fuchs added. “The Great Lakes need to be treated like the third coast of the United States. At times the waves and currents feel exactly like beaches in California.
According to Fuchs, educating Great Lakes communities about the wide range of quickly changing water conditions, rip current awareness, and coordination with the existing civic support infrastructure and schools, is a key component to saving lives, preventing community hysteria, and learning to protect and enjoy each weather and wave personality of the Great Lakes.
RIP CURRENTS ALERT
With Labor Day Weekend approaching, The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is issuing Lake Michigan Rip Current Alerts for the entire weekend.
Whenever there are winds over the Great Lakes, there are waves. Wherever there are waves, there are rip currents. South / southwest winds are forecasted to blow all day Friday and strong north / northeast winds are forecasted to blow Saturday through Monday.
What to do if caught in a rip.
If you're caught in a rip current, don't panic or swim against the current. Flip, float, and follow the current to assess which way the current is pulling you. Then swim parallel or diagonally to shore until you are out of the current.
Drowning statistics below:
2011Great Lakes Drownings
(62 as of 08/29/11)
(Info provided by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project)
1. Sat 1/1 Michael Hilling 19-M Chicago Retrieving object
2. Wed 2/2 Peter Davis 60-M Chicago Unknown
3. Mon 2/14 Casey Palmer 23-M Milwaukee Walk on ice
4. Fri 4/8 Sarah Goenne 61-M Chicago Fall from dock
5. Mon 4/11 Jane Doe 13-F Kenosha Pier Jump
6. Sun 5/22 Terrell Burton 19-M St. Joe Pier jump
7. Wed 6/8 Jorge Martinez 55-M Chicago swimming
8. Sun 6/19 John Doe 5-M Chicago Fall from pier
9. Fri 6/29 Steven Link 42-M Sheboygan WI Step-off
10. Sat 7/2 Timothy Judge 44-M Muskegon Scuba
11. Sun 7/3 Tyon McNeil 5-M Covert Unknown
12. Mon. 7/4 Chris Szmajlo 29-M Chicago Boating
13. Fri. 7/15 Jane Doe ?-F Racine Unknown
14. Fri. 7/15 Mark Tuthill 47-M Portage Step off
15. Sun 7/17 Marche Wilburn 6-F Gary Ind. Unknown
16. Sun 7/17 Mark Morley 51-M Charlevoix Sailing
17. Sun 7/17 Suzanne Bickel 41-F Charlevoix Sailing
18. Wed 7/27 Sharon Walsh 69-F Chicago unknown
19. Mon 8/1 Javier Rivera 19-M Chicago Swimming
20. Tues 8/2 Chandra Aravind 33-M Chicago Boating
21. Wed 8/3 Delilah Hope Perez 13-F Pentwater rip current
22. Sun 8/7 Martin Perez 8-M Mich. City rip current
23. Tues 8/9 Daniel Reed 46-M Saugatuck rip current
24. Tues 8/9 Bradley Stoner 22-M Saugatuck rip current
25. Wed 8/10 Brett Vanetten 20-M Gary rip current
26. Thur 8/18 Dolsey Squires 41-F Northport Beach possible rip current
27. Sat 8/27 Willie Bogan 11-M Racine rip current
28. Sat 8/27 Pawel Lesney 33-M Gary IN rip current
29. Sat 8/27 Tristan Shambee 14-M Wilmette rip current
30. Sun 8/28 Robert Klepacki 44 Hagar rip current
31. Sun 8/28 Rayan Sami Bokhari 22 Porter rip current
32. Sun 5/22 Donald Morrow 55-M East Harbor Fall from dock (etoh)
33. Tues 6/14 Susan Zatek 55-F Monroe Fishing
34. Tues 6/28 Zachary Wadding 18-M Ripley N.Y. Rip Current
35. Tues 6/28 Joselito Irizarry 30-M Edgewater Pier Jump
36. Sun 7/3 Daniel Abel 53-M Kelley’s Isle Boating
37. Thur. 7/20 Herman Teichroeb 24-M Port Burwell Swimming
38. Tues. 7/26 Aiden Nicoll 7-M Presque Isle rip current
39. Wed. 7/27 John Doe 27-M Presque Isle Swimming from boat
40. Sun 7/31 John Doe ??-M Kelleys Island Swimming from boat
41. Sun 7/31 Darylle Phoeur 17-M Avon Lake Rip Current
42. Tues 8/23 Antron Davis 25-M Cleveland unknown
43. Tues 6/7 Kevin Dammen 20-M Apostle Islands Kayaking
44. Mon 7/11 Monty Lyons 42-M Duluth unknown
45. Tues 1/4 Porter Simpson 7-M Niagara on the Lake Unknown
46. Sat 2/6 John Doe ?-M Toronto Unknown
47. Sat 6/25 John Doe 30’s-M Toronto Unknown
48. Sat 7/2 Jane Doe 50’s-F Toronto Unknown
49. Sun 7/17 Visu Vimalan 48-M Trenton Ont. Rip Current
50. Sun 7/17 John Doe 35-M Toronto Swim from boat
51. Sun 7/17 John Doe 29-M Wasaga Beach Ont. PWC
52. Tues 7/19 Uche Chuks’ 13-F Hamilton Ont. swimming from dock
53. Tues 7/26 Shaylean Richards 32-F Fair Haven rip current
54. Mon 8/1 John Doe 49-M Sandbanks rip current
55. Sat 8/20 John Doe 25-M Rochester unknown
56. Sat 2/26 Robert Quesnelle 40-M Georgian Bay Snowmobiling
57. Mon 4/18 James McComb II 20-M Port Austin Wash from pier
58. Sun 7/24 Jason McLeod 20-M Port Franks Swimming
59. Sun 7/31 Jan Raczychi 49-F Tobermory Scuba
60. Mon 8/1 Donald Dorey 42-M Long Point unknown
61. Thurs 8/11 Jason McDonough 36-M Sauble Beach unknown
LAKE ST. CLAIR:
62. Sat 4/23 Hassen Randel 37-M Black Creek Fishing (boat)
One Lake Michigan case pending: He did drown and survived. As of 8/8/2011, he still might be in hospital in serious to critical condition. Not sure? Hope he’s recovering well.
63. Mon 8-1 Mark Urness 53-M Frankfort rip current (CPR)
MORE INFORMATION about the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is at:
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH – List of Businesses and Organizations is at:
In the News – Overall Media Coverage:
TAGS: Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, Rip Current, Surf, Surfing, Rescue, drowning, Third Coast, Water Safety,