Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Drownings Topple 52

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 9, 2011

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Class Organizer & Media Relations

Great Lakes Drownings Topple 52
Looking like another record year for 2011

GREAT LAKES, USA – As reported on the Great Lakes ‘Third Coast Ocean Force’ FaceBook Group Monday, “Rip Current Alert every day this week – Tuesday through Sunday.  According to current forecast, expect conditions to peak all day Wednesday and also peak all day Sunday. Share this group with your friends, families and loved ones. Great Lakes drownings reached 50 when an 8 year old boy died yesterday [Aug. 7] in Michigan City, IN.” http://www.facebook.com/groups/thirdcoastoceanforce/

Today two more have drowned, increasing the total to 52. (Turbulent Lake Michigan claims 2 lives in Saugatuck

“Listen carefully… Rip Current Alert Every Day this Week.  The wind will continue to blow, and there will be more drownings in the Great Lakes tomorrow.  Will it be you or someone you know that drowns?  The winds will keep shifting and altering speeds; i.e. "clocking around" as the week progresses.  Rip currents can occur in waves as small as two feet.  Rip currents increase in strength and frequency as wave size increases.”  Dave Benjamin, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

THIRD COAST OCEAN FORCE!!! – Rip Current Awareness
The Great Lakes are referred to as the "Third Coast" of the United States, and the "Third Coast" can have "Ocean Force" rip currents during windy weather conditions.

“There are several issues going on,” said Bob Pratt of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.  “The three biggest factors are ignorance, bravado, and inattention by parents.  Knowledge is power, and we need a huge education effort across several spheres.”


In 2010 approximately 74 people drowned in the Great Lakes primarily due to rip currents.  The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is made up of Great Lakes surfers dedicated to reducing drowning incidents on the Great Lakes. Surfers have a long history of rescues along our coasts.  Surfers are often in the water when conditions are most dangerous: high surf and cold water. 

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project consists of two elements:
1. The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class;
2. The “Third Coast Ocean Force” Rip Current Awareness PSA Campaign.

The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class is currently FREE and OPEN to the public – Friends, Family, Employees, Employers, Surfers, SUP’ers, Kayakers, Professional Water Rescue Personnel, Social Groups of People, etc.
The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will teach participants how to:
--Recognize the danger of the surf environment keeping personal safety as THE primary responsibility – Identifying hazardous conditions
--Understand rip currents; i.e. how, where, and why rip currents occur; How to survive rips;
--Know the “Signs of Drowning” – How to identify a person in trouble from within a crowd.
--Summon help
--Use a surfboard or other flotation device to rescue a person in distress or in a rip current
--React when encountering swimmers who have suffered an injury
--React to an unconscious victim
--Enroll in lifesaving, first aid and CPR training from accredited agencies.

The Great Lakes are sometimes referred to as the “Third Coast” of the United States and the “Third Coast” can have "Ocean Force" rip currents during windy weather conditions.  Each Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will provide an opportunity to cause rip current awareness through the classroom as well as media opportunities.

  • Surfrider Foundation, Vince Deur & Ingrid Lindfors
Grand Haven, MI

  • Wet Mitten Surf Shop, Ben & John McNeil
301 N Harbor, Grand Haven, MI 49417
(616) 844-3388

  • No Quarter Surf Boards, Marty Karish
Grand Haven, MI

  • Great Lakes Proud, Austin Holsinger

  • The Great Lakes Surfing Association, Bob Beaton
Grand Haven, MI

  • Third Coast Surf Shop, Ryan Gerard
St. Joseph and New Buffalo, MI

  • Beach Nut Surf Shop, Larry Bordine
1100 Main St., Frankfort, MI 49635

  • Additional partners and sponsors coming soon…

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