Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 Drownings Reach 38

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 1, 2011

Dave Benjamin, Third Coast Ocean Force          Bob Pratt - Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
708-903-0166                                                         Fire Marshal & Water Rescue Expert                                          East Lansing, MI                          517-256-4600

Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project Releases Stats

2011 Great Lakes Drownings Reach 38

On Pace with 2010 Drowning Rate

GRAND HAVEN, MI – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project releases its 2011Drowning Stats.  As of July 27, 2011 there have been 38 drownings in the Great Lakes; in comparison to July 27, 2010 there were 40.  Some have asked, ‘Will 2011 surpass the 74 drownings of 2010?’

Rip currents 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. 

“Most beaches post "swim at your own risk" signs and fly colored flags (green/safe, yellow/ caution and red/danger). This year we've had a drowning and several rip current rescues on "green" flag days,” said Bob Pratt, a former lifeguard and current fire marshal in East Lansing, MI.

“And to be honest, no one really knows how many people die in our Great Lakes in any given year. As incredible as that sounds there are nine states and two countries involved.”

According to Pratt, the Great Lakes region death reports are done on a county-by-county basis.   The counties do not differentiate where drowning occur other than pool vs. open water.  In many states drowning is defined as ‘death following submersion where the death occurred within 24 hours of the incident.’  Many drowning victims may be kept on life support beyond 24 hours and the cause of death may not be classified as a drowning.

Pratt has been collecting drowning data since 2007 and formed “The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project to promote water safety and rip current awareness. Its third “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class of 2011 will be hosted 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.

TAGS:  Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, Rip Current, Surf, Surfing, Rescue, drowning, Third Coast,


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…

2011Great Lakes Drownings
(38 as of 07/27/11)
(Info provided by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project)

1.         Sat       1/1       Michael Hilling           19-M   Chicago                       Retrieving object
2.         Wed    2/2       Peter Davis                  60-M   Chicago                       Unknown
3.         Mon     2/14     Casey Palmer              23-M   Milwaukee                  Walk on ice
4.         Fri        4/8       Sarah Goenne              61-M   Chicago                       Fall from dock
5.         Mon     4/11     Jane Doe                     13-F     Kenosha                      Pier Jump
6.         Sun      5/22     Terrell Burton              19-M   St. Joe                         Pier jump
7.         Wed    6/8       Jorge Martinez            55-M   Chicago                       swimming
8.         Sun      6/19     John Doe                     5-M     Chicago                       Fall from pier
9.         Fri        6/29     Steven Link                 42-M   Sheboygan WI                        Step-off
10.       Sat       7/2       Timothy Judge            44-M   Muskegon                   Scuba
11.       Sun      7/3       Tyon McNeil               5-M    Covert                         Unknown
12.       Mon.    7/4       Chris Szmajlo              29-M   Chicago                       Boating
13.       Fri.       7/15     Jane Doe                    ?-F       Racine                         Unknown
14.       Fri.       7/15     Mark Tuthill                47-M   Portage                        Step off
15.       Sun      7/17     Marche Wilburn          6-F       Gary Ind.                    Unknown
16.       Sun      7/17     Mark Morley               51-M   Charlevoix                   Sailing
17.       Sun      7/17     Suzanne Bickel           41-F     Charlevoix                   Sailing

18.       Sun      5/22     Donald Morrow          55-M   East Harbor                 Fall from dock (etoh)
19.       Tues     6/14     Susan Zatek                55-F     Monroe                        Fishing
20.       Tues     6/28     Zachary Wadding       18-M   Ripley N.Y.                 Rip Current
21.       Tues     6/28     Joselito Irizarry           30-M   Edgewater                   Pier Jump
22.       Sun      7/3       Daniel Abel                 53-M   Kelley’s Isle                Boating
23.       Thur.    7/20     Herman Teichroeb       24-M   Port Burwell                Swimming
24.       Tues.    7/26     Aiden Nicoll               7-M     Presque Isle                 rip current
25.       Wed.   7/27     John Doe                     27-M   Presque Isle                 Swimming from boat

26.       Tues     6/7       Kevin Dammen           20-M   Apostle Islands           Kayaking

27.       Tues     1/4       Porter Simpson            7-M     Niagara on the Lake    Unknown
28.       Sat       2/6       John Doe                     ?-M      Toronto                       Unknown
29.       Sat       6/25     John Doe                     30’s-M Toronto                       Unknown
30.       Sat       7/2       Jane Doe                     50’s-F  Toronto                       Unknown
31.       Sun      7/17     Visu Vimalan              48-M   Trenton Ont.               Rip Current
32.       Sun      7/17     John Doe                     35-M   Toronto                       Swim from boat
33.       Sun      7/17     John Doe                     29-M   Wasaga                        Beach Ont. PWC
34.       Tues     7/19     Uche Chuks’               13-F     Hamilton Ont.             swimming from dock
35.       Tues     7/26     Shaylean Richards      32-F     Fair Haven                  rip current

36.       Sat       2/26     Robert Quesnelle        40-M   Georgian Bay              Snowmobiling
37.       Mon     4/18     James McComb II       20-M   Port Austin                  Wash from pier
38.       Sun      7/24     Jason McLeod             20-M   Port Franks                  Swimming

39.       Sat       4/23     Hassen Randel                        37-M   Black Creek                Fishing (boat)

2010 Great Lakes Drownings   
(74 as of 09/05/10)
Info provided by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project

NOTE: Highlights represents  “By July 27, 2010 – this time last year.

Note: An asterisk identifies a “would be rescuer”.
1.      Tues           1/26     Mauricio Guaylias                   27-M   Chicago                       Unknown
2.      Tues           3/2      Richard Wieting,                     53-M   Montrose (Chi.)           Unknown
3.      Sun            4/25     Ryan Lightfoot                       28-M   Petoskey                      Canoeing   
4.      Sun            4/25     Clifford Denay                       27-M   Petoskey                      Canoeing 
5.      Tues           4/18     John Doe                                     -M   Zion                             Unknown
6.      Thurs         5/27     Katlyn LeClaire                      13-F     Escanaba                     step -off
7.      Sat             5/29     Kelvin Motsinger                    9-M    Green Bay                    Unknown       
8.      Wed          6/09     Sofia Khan                              9-F       Holland WI                 kayaking
9.      Wed          6/9       DeVale Thompson                  16-M   Whiting                       Pier jump
10.  Sat             6/19     Vidyasagar Kapoor                 30-M   Chicago                       Unknown
11.  Tues           6/22     Antoine Miller                         21-M   Waukegan                   swimming
12.  Fri              6/25     Paris Bankhead                       20-M   Ill Beach St. Park        swimming
13.  Sun            7/4       Destiny Bahena                       9-F       Ind. Dunes                  rip current*
14.  Sun            7/4       William Lott                            25-M   Silver Lk. St. Park       rip current
15.  Sun            7/11     Perla Solis                               6-F      Covert Park                 unknown
16.  Fri              7/16     Jordy Graves                           17-M   South Haven               rip current
17.  Sat             7/17     James Savage                          55-M   Garfield Twp              swimming
18.  Fri              7/23     Mark Scheuer                          49-M   Grand Haven              rip current*
19.  Sun            7/25     Alfonso Quintero                    26-M   St. Joe                         rip current
20.  Sun            7/25     Jeremiah Green                       12-M   Racine                         unknown
21.  Sun            7/25     Lindsay Bilka                          17-F     Muskegon MI             rip current
22.  Mon           7/26     Kristopher Kane                      19-M   Sheboygan WI                        rip current
23.  Thur           8/5       Richard Drake                         67-M   Covert Park                 rip current
24.  Thur           8/5       Arther Walker                         71-M   Covert Park                 rip current
25.  Fri              8/6       Patrick Reymann                     63-M   Harbor Springs            kayaking
26.  Sun            8/8       Cody Prentiss                          15-M   Calumet Park              unknown
27.  Wed          8/11     Roman Bravo                          19-M   Ill. Beach St Park        unknown
28.  Sat             8/14     Anthony Goldsmith                44-M   Ludington MI             rip current
29.  Sun            8/15     Enrica Lorenz                          27-F     Muskegon MI             rip current
30.  Mon           8/16     Ethan Seitzer                           10-M   Berrien County           rip current
31.  Mon           8/16     Dolsey Lynn Squires               41-F     Gr. Traverse Bay         rip current
32.  Thur           8/19     Richard Habermas                  76-M   Grand haven               rip current
33.  Sun            8/22     Lorenzo Greer                         17-M   Mich. City IN             rip current
34.  Sun            8/22     Scott Hoover                           14-M   Mich. City IN             rip current
35.  Fri              9/3       Timothy Horvath                    26-M   Lincoln Twp MI          rip current
36.  Mon           9/3       Anupam Bhattacharjee           26-M   Ludington MI             pier wash-off
37.  Sun            9/13     Daniel Logsdon                      23-M   Warren Dunes             unknown
38.  Sat             9/18     Timothy Spiller                       49-M   Ludington                   fall from pier

39.  Mon           6/28     Andrew Mooney         21-M   Long Beach ONT                   rip current
40.  Tues           7/6       Louis Barba                 16-M   Sterling St. Park MI                swimming
41.  Thurs         7/8       Anthony Alexander    17-M   Mentor OH                             rip current
42.  Sun            7/11     Chris Alkerton                        18-M   Rock Point      ONT                swimming
43.  Wed          7/14     Victor Arce Jr.                        30-M   Westfield        NY                  swimming
44.  Tues           7/27     Edwin Acosta             41-M   Cleveland        OH                  swim/boat
45.  Sun            8/8       Nate Polosito              14-M   Westfield        OH                  rip current
46.  Mon           8/16     Marco Butler               18-M   Rock Point      ONT                rip current
47.  Thur           8/19     John Doe                     40s-M  Erie                  PA                   unknown
48.  Thur           8/19     John Doe                     53-M   Sherkston        ONT                rip current
49.  Mon           8/23     Cynthia Riediger         53-F     Pelee Island     ONT                rip current*
50.  Mon           9/6       Harallamb Tasi            24-M   Monroe MI                              swimming       
51.  Fri              9/11     Marshal Sharpe           58-M   Hamilton ONT                        fishing
52.  Sun            10/10   Mohammed Aljiboori 19-M   Cleveland OH                         Unknown

53.  Sat             7/3       Marvin Charette          18-M   Red Cliff                                 Unknown
54.  Wed          7/21     Rod Nilsestuen           62-M  Picnic Rocks                           rip current
55.  Thur           8/5       Elias Jenkins                15-M   Presque Isle                             rip current
56.  Thur           8/5       Alex Schuiteman         16-M   Presque Isle                             rip current
57.  Thur           8/5       Douglas Smith                        50-M   Grand Marais                          rip current
58.  Thur           8/5       Eric Smith                   16-M   Grand Marais                          rip current
59.  Fri              8/27     Devante Billups          18-M  Picnic Rocks                           swimming

60.  Mon           3/29     Jill Williams                 85-F     Sodus N.Y.                             Unknown
61.  Fri              5/28     Edward McMillon      20-M   Rochester NY                         Pier Jump
62.  Wed          6/09     John Doe                     23-M   Pt. Dalhousie                           fall from pier
63.  Fri              7/22     Justin Callahan            29-M   Brighton ONT                         kayaking
64.  Wed          7/28     Mehmet Yilmaz          22-M   Irondequoit Bay                      swim/boat
65.  Fri              8/6       Richard Woodall         77-M   Ellisburg ONT                         fishing
66.  Thur           9/2       Michael Steger            36-M   Olcott NY                               fishing

67.  Sun            4/16     Lawrence Burack        61-M   Saginaw Bay                           Fishing
68.  Tues           6/29     Douglas Rucinskas      5-M     Bayfield ONT                         rip current
69.  Tues           6/29     Andrew Rucinskas      48-M   Bayfield ONT                         rip current*
70.  Sun            7/25     George Georgion Jr     16-M   Lexington MI                          rip current
71.  Tues           7/27     Joseph Lathan             18-M   Conneaut OH                          pier jump
72.  Sun            8/15     John Doe                     10-M   Georgan Bay                           canoeing
73.  Mon           8/16     Oksana Milovanovic   16-F     Kincardine ONT                     rip current
74.  Thurs         8/19     John Doe                     24-M   Sauble Beach ONT                 unknown