Thursday, July 19, 2012

Duluth Surf Rescue Class - 49 GL drownings


Charlie Smith, Duluth Minnesota FD, 218-730-4396,
Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project:
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director of Public Relations, 708-903-0166
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553

Duluth “Water Safety Surf Rescue” Class

As Great Lakes Drownings Increase to 49 

Duluth, MN – The Duluth Fire Department is hosting the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s “Water Safety Surf Rescue” class July 21 at the Park Point Beach House, 9:30 a.m.

“We are extremely grateful to host this nationally recognized drowning prevention program designed to raise water safety and rip current awareness on the Great Lakes,” said   Charlie Smith, Training Chief for the Duluth Minnesota Fire Department.  “The class teaches the general public and first responders how to recognize swimmers in trouble and tactics to successfully rescue them.”

“We urge everyone to take the time to learn about the Great Lakes, their hazards and how to react to them, especially rip currents. Swim only at beaches which are designated for swimming and are protected by on-duty life guards.”

According to smith, Lake Superior is not like inland freshwater lakes.  “Due to its size, Lake Superior possesses many of the behaviors of what would normally be found on ocean coasts.  All water activities must be respected and treated with caution, but Lake Superior is special and is not forgiving of mistakes.”

Since July 1 there have been five rip current rescues from beaches on Park Point.  All of these incidents occurred on days when Red Flag Conditions were present and the beaches were closed to swimming.

“If it were not for the actions of good Samaritans, many of these rescues would have been fatalities,” Smith added. “The water is life threatening when Red Flag Conditions are present.  Please heed the warnings provided to the community by the Duluth Fire Department regarding dangerous surf conditions.  

This class comes as the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports 49 Great Lakes drownings to date in 2012.


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) that tracks drowning statistics, teaches “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes, and leads the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign on the Great Lakes.

It has been selected to present at the 2nd International Rip Current Symposium Nov. 1st, 2012 in Sydney, Australia; the 2012 winner of the “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community” award presented by the Dairyland Surf Classic; the 2011 “Lifesaver of the Yearaward winner; and a presenter at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 9, 2012.

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