Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Info About The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project

Updated January 4, 2012

What's so... In 2010 approximately 74 people drowned in the Great Lakes primarily due to rip currents.  To date in 2011, approximately 87 people have drowned - a two-year total of 161 . 

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is volunteer group 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.  This volunteer group has expanded to include professional water rescue team members, dive team members, police officers, fire fighters, and the general public.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project consists of three elements:
1. The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class;
2. The “Third Coast Ocean Force” Rip Current Awareness PSA Campaign.
3. Presenting at National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) Symposium March 2012
4. NDPA "Lifesaver of the Year" nomination (voting on FaceBook Jan. 4 to Jan. 31, 2012)
The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class is open to the general public, Surfers, and Professional Water Rescue Personnel.
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.

In 2011, Five Surfboard Rescue Techniques Classes were held:
June 5, 2011, St. Joseph, MI
July 17, 2011, Frankfort, MI
July 31, 2011, Grand Haven, MI
August 28, 2011, New Buffalo, MI
September 18, 2011, Whiting, IN

There are currently request for the Surfboard Rescue Techniques to be performed in 14 cities around the Great Lakes.  Details coming soon...
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 when there are waves on Great Lakes.  Each Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will provide an opportunity to cause rip current awareness through the classroom as well as media opportunities.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is excited and proud to announce that it will be presenting its "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s 11th Annual Symposium, March 7, 2012 in San Diego, California.

“Presenting allows us to bring the issues unique to the Great Lakes to a national forum,” said Bob Pratt, Surf Rescue Class Instructor.  “Our rip currents are different; they are caused by short fetch windswells, and our piers are solid structures that exacerbate the rip current problem.”

The Great Lakes have a short swimming season (typically three months), yet has a high number of drownings each year (74 in 2010; 87 to date in 2011).
“Addressing these challenges at the symposium may result in greater interest by researchers and may also result in expanded funding,” Pratt added.  “The ultimate goal is and will always be the prevention of drowning by increased education and a culture of respect for the power of the Lakes.”

“We will showcase the broad range of efforts taking place in the Great Lakes region. While the region may be struggling economically, volunteer and non-profit groups have stepped in to fill voids caused by a lack of lifeguards and cuts to public safety and education.”

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project believes its class can serve as a national model bringing diverse groups (surfers, law enforcement, water rescue professionals, and the general public) together with the common goal of saving lives. 

4. NDPA "Lifesaver of the Year" nomination (voting on FaceBook Jan. 4 to Jan. 31, 2012)

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