Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Great Lakes in SD Accepting Lifesave Year Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 5, 2012
Contact:

Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director and Public Relations
708-903-0166

Great Lakes arrive for San Diego Drowning Symposium

Honored as “Lifesaver of the Year”, presenting its work, and

announcing that it has become a chapter of the NDPA

SAN DIEGO, CA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project arrived in San Diego to accept the National “Lifesaver of the Year” Award, present its work, and announce that it has become a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium Friday, March 9, 12:00 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay.  Members of the GLSRP will be in San Diego, March 6-10.

Did you know that since 2010, over 165 people have drowned in the Great Lakes?

Did you know that each year over 60 million people visit the Great Lakes?

1.  ACCEPTING THE LIFESAVER OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is proud to announce that its Executive Director, Bob Pratt, won the “Lifesaver of the Year” Award presented by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the USA Swimming Foundation. The award will be presented at the NDPA Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, Friday, March 9, 12:00 p.m.

“WOW this is amazing,” said Bob Pratt, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. “I'm truly honored. I really consider this as a team award – the result of a team effort. We have a lot of community support through Great Lakes residents, businesses and organizations.”

The nomination for this award was based on the rip current rescue in New Buffalo August 28 and the GLSRP’s 2011 tracking of Great Lakes drowning statistics, six “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes, and rip current awareness campaign along the coast of Lake Michigan.  

The 2011 surf rescue classes were taught to the general public, surfers, lifeguards, police officers, fire fighters, water rescue team members, dive team members and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Pratt’s dedication for water safety will be on the forefront of drowning prevention throughout the Midwest in 2012 with 14 “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes hitting Great Lakes beaches.

Pratt retired from the East Lansing Fire Department January 20th where he spent 12 years as a firefighter and paramedic and 12 years as Fire Marshal. He will now take the helm of the Surf Rescue Project full time.

“I'm writing a new chapter in my life, a new career. I'm really excited to see how much we can accomplish with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project!”

“Our lifesaver award winner never seems to take a day off,” said Kim Burgess NDPA executive director. “While vacationing in Florida last week, Bob assisted three lifeguards in the battle against offshore winds to rescue three people who were swept out to sea on an inflatable raft.”

“We're so proud to have Bob as our Lifesaver of the Year. He truly deserves it!” 

2. PRESENTING THE WORK OF THE GLSRP
Since 2010, over 165 people have drowned in the Great Lakes.  The Great Lakes are a vacation destination.  Each year over 60 million people year visit the United States and Canadian Great Lakes shores (98 state parks, 39 provincial parks, and 12 national parks).

“Presenting allows us to bring the drowning issues unique to the Great Lakes to a national forum,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP executive director.  

The Great Lakes have a short swimming season (typically three months), yet has a high number of drownings each year (74 in 2010; 87 in 2011; a two-year total of 161).   The GLSRP tracks the drowning statistics, teaches “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes on the beaches and in the water, and leads the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign. 

“We will showcase the broad range of efforts taking place in the Great Lakes region. Our rip currents are different; they are caused by short fetch windswells, and our piers are solid structures that exacerbate the rip current problem causing a lot of flash rips and ‘washing machine’ like conditions.”

“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.” 

3.   ANNOUNCING THAT THE GLSRP HAS BECOME A CHAPTER OF THE NDPA
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is proud to announce that it has become a chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. 

 “What an honor it is to be accepted into the NDPA family,” said Bob Pratt GLSRP executive director. “It is a huge accomplishment for us. Our big focus in 2012 will be on Great Lakes water safety, rip current education and awareness, and tracking the drowning statistics.” 

The chapter agreement will be formerly announced at the NDPA Symposium when Pratt accepts the 2011 “Lifesaver of the Year” award and presents the work of the GLSRP at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, 9, 12:00 p.m.

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OTHER NEWS
  1. GLSRP Becomes Chapter of NDPA
  2. Lifesaver of the Year Award Winner Assists Rescue while on Florida Vacation
  3. Bob Pratt Winner of the Lifesaver of the Year Award
  4. Video: Hero from New Buffalo beach rescue getting national honor – NDPA 'Lifesaver of the Year' Award
  5. Surf’s up, but Matteson man wants drownings down
  6. Chasing the chilling waves — whenever they can
  7. Fire Marshal Retires - Takes Helm of Surf Rescue Project
  8. Bob Pratt Lifesaver Year Award - Top 10 Finalist
  9. Great Lakes drownings rise to 87 in 2011; a two-year total of 161
  10. Great Lakes Presenting at San Diego Symposium
  11. Co-Executive Director’s drowning experience turns into Rescue Project
  12. Video: Great Lakes surfers save drowning victims
  13. Video: Surfers to the Rescue 
PICTURES of “Water Safety Surf Rescue” Classes
  1. June 5, 2011 – St. Joseph, MI – Classroom and Water Session
  2. August 7, 2011 – Grand Haven, MI – Classroom and Water Session
  3. August 28, 2011 – New Buffalo, MI – Classroom and Water Session
  4. August 28, 2011 – New Buffalo, MI – Boy rescued from rip current
  5. September 18, 2011 – Whiting, IN – Classroom and Water Session
  6. February 24, 2012 – Florida Rescue Brevard County, Florida
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