Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bob Pratt Lifesaver Year Award - Top 10


Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director & Media Relations, 708-903-0166
Bob Pratt, Executive Director, 517-643-2553

“Lifesaver of the Year” Award – Top 10 Finalist
Representing the Great Lakes at San Diego Symposium

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is proud to announce that Bob Pratt is a ‘Top 10 Finalist’ for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s “Lifesaver of the Year” Award.  Pratt will also be presenting the work of the GLSRP at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 7 – 10, 2012

Pratt has been nominated for this prestigious award because his organization spent the summer of 2011 campaigning Great Lakes rip current awareness, beach and water safety, tracking Great Lakes drowning statistics, teaching “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” classes along the coast of Lake Michigan, and even a surf rescue.

His classes were taught to the average beach goer, lifeguards, police officers, fire fighters, water rescue teams and dive team members. A member of the U.S. Coast Guard even attended the July 17 class in Frankfort, MI.

On August 28 approximately 30 minutes after teaching his “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class in New Buffalo, MI, Bob and one of his class participants, Nick Rymut, rescued a boy drowning in a rip current. (Nick made the initial contact with the boy and Bob assisted – teaching all the way. Links to pictures below.)

Nick, a firefighter and paramedic, for the Lockport Township Fire Department in Illinois was catching some surf after the class and immediately jumped into action when he saw the boy caught in the rip current.

The boy was displaying the signs of drowning in the thick surf – facing shore, mouth at water level, a terrified look in his face, and ‘climbing the ladder’ motion in the water.

Bob was standing on shore near a lifeguard stand speaking with a lifeguard and New Buffalo police officers when he saw the boy displaying the signs too. He then sprinted into the water to assist.

Lake Michigan waters can often have “washing machine” surf filled with flash rips, which creates a nearly impossible escape without some type of flotation device. In 2010, 74 people drowned in the Great Lakes primarily due to rip currents. As of November 30, 2011, there have been 85 Great Lakes drownings.

There are now requests for Bob to bring The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s, “Surfboard Rescue Techniques Class” to 14 cities on the Great Lakes in 2012 (Frankfort, Grand Haven, St. Joseph, and New Buffalo, MI; Michigan City, Portage, and Whiting, IN; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee and Sheboygan, WI; Duluth, MN; and Sherkston, Canada).

Bob’s dedication for Great Lakes rip current awareness, beach and water safety, tracking Great Lakes drowning statistics, and teaching surf rescue classes will be on the forefront of drowning prevention throughout the Midwest in 2012.

Voting is through FaceBook.  To cast your VOTE, click on the link below, “Like” the NDPA Fan Page,  and then click on the "Thumbs Up" image next to the “Bob Pratt Surf Rescue” photo ( (FYI: You can vote once per day till Jan. 31, 2012. Every vote every day counts.)

 August 28, 2011 – Boy rescued from rip current, New Buffalo, MI   

August 28, 2011 – Classroom and Water Session, New Buffalo, MI

 August 8, 2011 – TV News Coverage– Surfers to the Rescue, Grand Haven, MI


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    

MORE INFORMATION about the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is at:

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH – List of Businesses and Organizations is at:

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