Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Surf Rescue Class Returning to St. Joe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Updated 06/02/2012
Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director and Public Relations

Surf Rescue Class returning to St. Joseph

As Drownings increase at alarming rate

ST. JOSEPH, MI – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) is proud to announce that its first “Water Safety Surf Rescue” class of 2012 will be Sunday, June 3, in coordination and support of the National Weather Service’s “National Rip Current Awareness Week.”

Since 2010, 183 people have drowned in the Great Lakes (74 in 2010; 87 in 2011).  As of June 2, 2012, 22 people have drowned.  That’s a 100% increase over the same date in 2011; and a 120% increase over 2010.

“The drowning numbers are astounding,” said Ryan Gerard, owner Third Coast Surf Shop in St. Joseph and New Buffalo. “As more people enjoy these freshwater inland seas, it is imperative that the dangers associated with them are recognized and proper precautions are taken, especially when waves and rip currents are active.”

“The water safety and surf rescue techniques local surfers have been using for decades are taught in the classes,” Gerard added.  “It’s crucial to educate the public and save lives.”

The “Water Safety Surf Rescue” class is FREE and open to everyone; i.e. the general public, surfers, first responders, and professional water rescue personnel.   To RSVP contact Dave Benjamin at 708-903-0166.

The class will teach participants how to:
·         Recognize the danger of the surf environment keeping personal safety as THE primary responsibility
·         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 class will meet at the Boulevard INN, 521 Lake Boulevard, St. Joseph, MI.
9:30 a.m. EST: Meet-n-Greet
10:00 a.m. EST: Classroom Session 
11:15 a.m. EST: Water Session at St. Joseph’s Silver Beach or Tiscornia Beach (depending which way the wind blows/waves, etc. The beach location will be decided by the end of the classroom).

To RSVP contact Dave Benjamin at 708-903-0166.


The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is about saving lives. It is a nonprofit corporation that is a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA), the 2011 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner, presenter at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium, and the 2012 winner of the “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community” award presented by the Dairyland Surf Classic, Sheboygan, WI. The GLSRP tracks drowning statistics, teaches “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes, and leads the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign on the Great Lakes.

  1. Bob Pratt winner of the 2012 “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community
  2. GLSRP Becomes Chapter of NDPA
  3. Lifesaver of the Year Award Winner Assists Rescue on FL Vacation
  4. Bob Pratt Winner of the Lifesaver of the Year Award
  5. Video: Hero from New Buffalo beach rescue getting national honor – NDPA 'Lifesaver of the Year' Award
  6. Surf’s up, but Matteson man wants drownings down
  7. Chasing the chilling waves — whenever they can
  8. Fire Marshal Retires - Takes Helm of Surf Rescue Project
  9. Bob Pratt Lifesaver Year Award - Top 10 Finalist
  10. Great Lakes drownings rise to 87 in 2011; a two-year total of 161
  11. Great Lakes Presenting at San Diego Symposium
  12. Co-Executive Director’s drowning experience turns into Rescue Project
  13. Video: Great Lakes surfers save drowning victims
  14. 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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