Friday, August 5, 2011

Great Lakes Drownings Reach 49

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 5, 2011

Dave Benjamin, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project Class Organizer              

2011 Great Lakes Drownings Reach 49
An Increase of 2 from this time last year
August = Rip Current Season

GRAND HAVEN, MI – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project just released its current 2011 Drowning Stats.  As of August 5, 2011 there have been 49 drownings in the Great Lakes.  Some may ask, ‘Will 2011 surpass the 74 drownings of 2010?’  And at the current pace that answer will be, “yes”.  By August 5, 2010 there was 47 drownings.  By August 5, 2011 there are 49 drownings – an increase of two.

And one of the latest fatalities is a 13-year-old Ludington girl, Delilah Perez, who was pulled from Lake Michigan Aug. 3 while swimming at Charles Mears State Park beach in Pentwater – the same day approximately 30 people were rescued from rip currents at Holland State Park.  She had been at the beach with family and friends when she was caught by a rip current.  Perez died approximately 9 p.m., Aug. 4.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is declaring August 1 the ‘unofficial’ start of the Great Lakes rip current season.  The summer’s heat waves have warmed the waters, more people tend to go to the beaches, and this is the time of year when cooler winds may start to blow as fall approaches – Physics of Cold falls and heat rises; i.e. cooler air over warmer waters creates more friction for waves to occur.  

Whenever there are waves, there are rip currents, which can be a leading cause of drowning on the Great Lakes.  And when you factor in that lifeguards are a rarity on most beaches, water safety vigilance at a beach-goer level can be of utmost importance. 

To support water safety and saving lives, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project will host its third “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class Sunday, August 7 in the Grand Haven State Park Pavilion, Grand Haven, MI; 9:30 a.m. Meet-n-Greet; 10:00 a.m. Classroom Session; 11:15 a.m. Water Session.


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. Event Page:!/home.php?sk=group_129564050452987
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

  • 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…

No comments:

Post a Comment