The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director & Public Relations
Surf rescue class goes into action immediately!
Rescue made after class
NEW BUFFALO, MI – Approximately 30 minutes after the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project completed its “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class and “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign in New Buffalo, MI Sunday, one of its class participants rescued a boy drowning in a rip current.
Nick Rymut, a firefighter and paramedic, for the Lockport Township Fire Department, was catching some surf after class and immediately jumped into action. “I could see the rip [current] moving the boy out and he was gasping for air,” said Rymut.
The boy was displaying the signs of drowning in the thick surf – facing shore, mouth at water level, and ‘climbing the ladder’ motion in the water. When swimmers are in distress, they can’t waive or scream for help.
Class instructor, Bob Pratt, was standing on shore and saw the signs too and sprinted in the water to assist. “Watching all these people in this washing machine really puts me on edge,” said Pratt. “I’d feel terrible if I went to another spot with cleaner surf and someone drowned here today.”
Lake Michigan waters can often have “washing machine” surf as water hits the jetty walls, refracts waves off at an angle as more waves cross over the refraction waves into the wall. It creates a nearly impossible escape without some type of flotation device. If somebody should ever find themselves caught in a rip current, the best strategy is to not panic and float until the current dissipates before swimming to shore.
1. Boy rescued from rip current
2. Classroom and Water Session; 28 people attended. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project: