National Drowning Prevention Alliance
     “Lifesaver of the Year” Award 2012 & 2020
        “Community Lifesaver” Award 2016 & 2018

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07/15 Duluth Water Safety Class

Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director of Public Relations,
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553

Great Lakes Water Safety heading to Duluth

Campaigning for a Water Safety School Curriculum 

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GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) will be performing a Great Lakes Water Safety class Wednesday, July 15, 6:00 p.m., at the Park Point Beach House, 5000 Minnesota Ave., Duluth, MN. (Facebook Event Page)

The class is sponsored by The Park Point Volunteer Surf Rescue Team, the Duluth Family YMCA, the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Minnesota Sea Grant.

“We’ve made a great deal of progress in safety on and around Lake Superior in the past five years,” said Robert Pokorney, head of the Park Point Volunteer Surf Rescue team (Facebook Page).  “It’s really a knowledge issue and the more people we reach with events like this the less we’ll see drowning and injury on the Lake.”

The “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentation will teach participants to:

  • Understand that drowning is a leading cause of injury and death
  • Recognize the “Signs of Drowning” – How to identify a person in trouble.
  • Recognize the dangers of the surf environment
  • Understand dangerous currents; i.e. how, where, and why dangerous currents occur and how to survive them
  • Understand the “Flip, Float, & Follow” drowning survival strategy
  • Understand how a flotation device such as a throw ring, throw rope, surfboard or other objects that float can rescue a person in distress or in a dangerous current
  • The latest updates for CPR for drowning victims.
  • Understand the need for a Water Safety School Curriculum

“The Lake is a valuable resource to be respected by all users,” said Becky Sapper, Assistant Reserve Manager, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. “Learning how to be safe on the water and what to do in emergency situations is important for all of us that appreciate and spend time on Lake Superior.”

“The Great Lakes offer an unparalleled recreational opportunity that everyone should take advantage of, but they’re big and unpredictable, and knowing the risks before you go can mean the difference between a great day at the beach and tragedy,” said Jesse Schomberg, Minnesota Sea Grant Extension Program Leader.

The GLSRP has been campaigning for the implementation of a water safety school curriculum to launch in the Great Lakes region and then nationwide.

“Educating children about water safety is vitally important,” said Bob Pratt, former East Lansing, Michigan Fire Marshal. “I’ve seen how effective fire safety education is.  We have drills in schools for fire, tornadoes and school shooters but the fact is drowning will kill more children than fires, tornadoes, school shooters and even lightening, combined… COMBINED! It’s time we started teaching water safety in all of our schools.”

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“Flip, Float and Follow is the lifesaving equivalent of stop drop and roll for the aquatic environment. The ability to float allows a distressed swimmer to control the panic and conserve their energy as they determine the most effective path back to safety.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue.

“A water safety school curriculum is the fastest way to reach the largest audience in the shortest amount of time to break the Vicious Cycle of the Drowning Epidemic and drastically reduce the number of drownings.

The GLSRP has taught over 139 Great Lakes Water Safety classes in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states (WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, MN and PA ).  It has a comprehensive curriculum, but lacks funding to convert its curriculum into videos, animation, training booklets, and coloring booklets, and its “Train the Trainer” courses. (Crowdrise Fundraiser).

GLSRP Drowning Statistics
Like GLSRP’s Facebook Page
Follow GLSRP on Twitter @ripcurrentsafeT


The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is about saving lives.  It is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation that is a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA).


  1. Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics (389 since 2010)
  2. Teaches “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes (Over 135 classes since 2011)
  3. Works with family and friends  of Great Lakes drowning victims to advocate water safety.
  4. Hosts Surf Lifeguard Certification courses (pics), and

Park Point Volunteer Surf Rescue monitors and patrols swimmers at the 12th Street beach during periods of wave and rip current activity. The volunteer surf rescue team are not lifeguards, but are surfers, swimmers, and community members who seek to educate the public on water safety in and around Lake Superior. (Facebook Page).

The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve works with partners to improve the understanding of Lake Superior freshwater estuaries and coastal resources and to address the issues affecting coastal communities through an integrated program of research, education, outreach and stewardship. (Website)

Through scientific research and public education programs, Minnesota Sea Grant works to enhance Minnesota’s coastal environment and economy. (Facebook Page; Website).

The Duluth Area Family YMCA is one of the largest not-for-profit community service organizations in Northeastern Minnesota serving nearly 13,000 children ages 17 and under in a wealth of enriching Y activities. The Y helps families build bonds, connect with community resources and become strong and self-sufficient. It is the largest provider of health and well-being programs in Northeastern Minnesota. All programs and membership are available to everyone, regardless of their ability pay.

Mission: To eradicate drownings by being the leader of Great Lakes water safety by providing training, public preparedness, and public awareness.

Vision: Everyone in the Great Lakes region, nationwide and worldwide, is knowledgeable, engaged and proactive in water safety with an emphasis on the Great Lakes region.

The GLSRP has performed over 135 Great Lakes Water Safety classes in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states; Presented at the NDPA’s 12th Annual Symposium, March  2013 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Presented at the 2nd International Rip Current Symposium Nov. 2012 in Sydney, Australia; the 2012 winner of the “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community” award presented by the Dairyland Surf Classic; the 2012 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner; and presented at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 2012.


SAFETY TIPS – What everyone should know before they put their toes on the beach: