Thursday, July 5, 2012

Flip, Float, and Follow

Flip, Float, and Follow
Created by the Michigan Sea Grant

Don't panic if caught in a dangerous current.
“Flip, Float, and Follow,” Michigan Sea Grant

Great Lakes, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) acknowledges and endorses the Michigan Sea Grant’s “Flip, Float, and Follow” rip current survival campaign and will be sharing Flip, Float, and Follow at its “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes.

“It is critical to understand what it means to flip, float and follow,” said Elizabeth LaPorte, Michigan Sea Grant’s Communication and Education Services Director.  “The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project's on-the-beach educational efforts will clearly demonstrate for the public how to survive a dangerous current.”

How to use the Flip, Float, and Follow Rip Current Survival Strategy
1.      Flip over onto your back.
2.      Float to keep your head above water, conserve your energy, and to calm yourself down.
3.      Follow the current until it weakens. Most currents dissipate quickly as they move away from the shore into deeper water. Ride it out, figure out which direction the water is flowing and swim perpendicular to the current toward shore.  

·         As long as you are floating, you are alive.
·         When you are fighting the current, you are drowning – Wasting your energy and doing the signs of drowning.

“Also remember if you are too tired to swim to shore, continue floating and signal for help,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director. “As long as you are floating you are alive.  When you are fighting the current, you are drowning.”

“This new campaign and educational materials are designed to help people remember how to successfully escape a variety of dangerous currents such as rip currents, channel currents, and structural currents,” LaPorte concluded.

According to LaPorte, the Michigan Sea Grant’s “flip, float and follow” public outreach campaign is the result of input from a variety of first responders and water safety groups that participated in the Great Lakes Water Safety Conference, sponsored by Michigan Sea Grant in 2011.  Sea Grant's outreach professionals developed new educational materials that clearly communicate animportant message: don't panic if caught in a dangerous current.

Like “Stop, Drop, and Roll”, a simple fire safety technique taught to children, emergency services personnel, and industrial workers as a component of health and safety training to extinguish a fire on a person's clothes or hair, it is an effective psychological tool that can be focused on in order to avoid panic in a terrifying situation.

In the following ABC 57 news segment, “Saving lives this summer”, 10 year old Juliette Benjamin, shares her knowledge of Flip, Float, and follow:​local/van-buren/​Preventing-Summer-Drownings--15​5889485.html


Question: What do you do if you are ever caught in a rip current?

Answer:  FLIP, FLOAT, and FOLLOW [Similar to Stop, Drop, and Roll if you ever catch on fire.]

1.      FLIP over on your back

2.      FLOAT to keep your head above water, conserve your energy, and calm yourself down. [Panic can kill you.]

3.      FOLLOW the current to determine which way it is pulling you.

4.      When the current weakens, swim perpendicular to the current toward shore.  If you don’t have the energy to swim, keep floating and signal for help.

Michigan Sea Grant fosters economic growth and helps protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 32 university-based programs.

Since 1991, the Michigan Sea Grant has led the region in efforts to better communicate key messages to the public about how to be safe at the beach. The Michigan Sea Grant has collaborated with university researchers, state government, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service and a number of organizations, including the Marquette Waterfront Safety Task Force, the Great Lakes Beach and Pier Safety Task Force and most recently, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

See Dangerous Currents - Educational Information: 

Michigan Sea Grant
Elizabeth Laporte, Communication and Education Services Director


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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