Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Lennox 20 year old – Drownings uptick to 53

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 10, 2011

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

New Lennox  20 year old – Drownings Uptick to 53

GARY, IN & NEW LENNOX, IL – And yet another Great Lakes drowning – Uptick yesterday’s tally of 52 to 53 drownings for 2011. 

To say the least, I am sickened that another person has perished in the lakes on a day that, for him, was supposed to be filled with post-teenage lifelong memories of fun in the sun.  Now this day may be filled with anguish, anger, frustration, and tears for friends and family members.

And for those of you reading the Third Coast Ocean Force blog, aren’t you sick of me posting about this?  Be straight.  It’s okay to be tired of all my press releases about rip currents and drownings. 

Thing is… no one else is really covering this topic thoroughly.  Barely any other Medias will acknowledge that there’s been 53 drownings in 2011 – A growning number that will soon overshadow the 74 drownings of 2010.

Do you think the newscasts will report 53 drownings tonight when they report this news?

Will the weather men/women start to report rip current warnings with each weather report that warrants it?

Will the beaches have lifeguards trained with surf rescue boards?  (This many drownings don’t occur on ocean beaches.)

The time is long overdue for Great Lakes water safety to be taken off the back burner. 

For lake surfers, today was an awesome surf session on the south end of Lake Michigan with some great friends.  The thing about lake surfers is that we assess the surf conditions before we go in because we are looking for clean rideable waves to carve, not the blown-out-washing-machine slop that kills inexperienced surf swimmers.

Unfortunately just a few miles from our surfing position, a drowning was occurring on an unguarded beach. 

Dave Benjamin
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project

New Lenox Man May Have Drowned In Rip Currents At Gary Beach

New Lenox man feared drowned in Lake Michigan

New Lenox, Ill., man presumed drowned

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.

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