Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Surf Rescue Applies to Present at Annual Symposium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 25, 2011

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Class Organizer & Media Relations

Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project Requests to Present
At the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s
11th Annual Symposium

THE GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is ecstatic to announce that it will be submitting an application to be a presenter at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s (NDPA) 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, CA, March 7 to 10, 2012.

“The success of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project has been due to the class attendance, the businesses and organizations that have partnered with us, and the media that has given us a platform to be heard,” said Dave Benjamin. “It’s their participation in this Great Lakes project that has truly made the difference.”

The NDPA Symposium offers the best-of-the-best in drowning prevention programs, strategies, research and information to advance drowning prevention efforts nationwide.

“Presenting will allow us to bring the issues unique to the Great Lakes to a national forum,” said Bob Pratt. “While we have a very short swimming season (typically 3 months) we have a high number of rip current drownings every year. Our rip currents are different; they are caused by short fetch windswells. Our piers are solid structures that exacerbate the rip current problem.”

“Hopefully, presenting some of these challenges will result in greater interest by researchers and may result in expanded funding.  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.”

“We believe the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project can serve as a national model bringing diverse groups together with the common goal of saving lives.”

“The opportunity to present at the NDPA Symposium will showcase the broad range of efforts taking place in the Great Lakes region. While the region may be struggling economically, volunteer and non-profit groups have stepped in to fill voids caused by a lack of lifeguards and cuts to public safety and education.”

“The realities of the economy and prevalence of liability concerns have resulted in fewer beaches guarded by trained lifeguards,” Pratt added. “Colored flags and warning signs now replace lifeguard towers. Municipalities are under increasing stress to "close" beaches when they become "dangerous". The Surf Rescue Project seeks to create a culture of respect for the Lakes and a balance of recreational activities with safety concerns.”

“We know that programs like the Beach Safety Challenge ( have saved lives by educating people about rip currents. The pier safety equipment that the Great Lakes Beach and Pier Safety Task Force installed have been used for many rescues along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class and “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign is bringing surfers, law enforcement and the Coast Guard to the same training and supporting their cooperative efforts,” Pratt concluded.

The Surf Rescue Project plans to present its “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class and “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign at the NDPA symposium.

The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class teaches participants how to recognize the danger of the surf environment; understand rip currents (i.e. how, where, and why rip currents occur); how to survive rips; to know the “Signs of Drowning”; and how to use a surfboard or other flotation device to rescue a person in distress or in a rip current.

The “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign provides an opportunity to cause rip current awareness through the surf rescue classroom as well as ongoing media opportunities.  The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project wants everyone to know that 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. 

The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is a volunteer-driven 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization founded in 2004. NDPA members are dedicated to preventing drowning for all age groups in all bodies of water through public education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. The public is invited to join by visiting    

The fourth “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will be hosted Sunday, August 28 at the Lions Pavilion Park, New Buffalo, MI.  There will be a Meet-n-Greet at 9:30 a.m.; Classroom Session for assessing surf conditions, rip current education, beach safety, rescue techniques, 10:00 a.m.; and a Water Session to practice hands-on surf rescue techniques at 11:15 a.m.

The “Surf Rescue” class is FREE and OPEN to the public.  Feel free to invite your friends, family, and water enthusiasts (Surfers, SUP’ers, Kayakers, Professional Water Rescue Personnel) for an informative water safety class and a fun day at the beach.

In 2010 approximately 74 people drowned in the Great Lakes primarily due to rip currents.  As of August 25, 2011, approximately 56 people have drowned.  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. 

  • Third Coast Surf Shop, Ryan Gerard
St. Joseph and New Buffalo, MI

  • Surfrider Foundation, Chicago Chapter, John Swiatowiec Chapter Chair
Chicago, IL

  • Great Lakes Surfer Magazine, Mike Killion
Chicago, IL

  • Surfrider Foundation, Lake Michigan Chapter, Vince Deur & Ingrid Lindfors
Grand Haven, MI

  • Surf Grand Haven, Will Beaton
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 Holsinger

  • The Great Lakes Surfing Association, Bob Beaton
Grand Haven, MI

  • Beach Nut Surf Shop, Larry Bordine
1100 Main St., Frankfort, MI 49635

Additional partners and sponsors coming soon…

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