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

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409 GL Drownings + 1 missing in Lake Michigan

Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director, 708-903-0166
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553 

409 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010 plus 1 missing

“Swim at your own risk”

But do you really know the risks?

Petition for a National Water Safety School Curriculum

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics and issues a summer alert.

As one Illinois woman is missing in Lake Michigan, nine others have been pulled out since June 5.  Overall in 2015, the GLSRP has tracked 25 Great Lakes drownings.  Since 2010, it has tracked 409 Great Lakes drownings (74 in 2010; 87 in 2011; 101 in 2012, 68 in 2013, 54 in 2014, and 25 to date in 2015).

SUMMER ALERT – You always swim at your own risk – But do you know the risks?
“First off… Drowning is a neglected public health issue,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director. “If you don’t know it’s a neglected public health issue, then your risks increase. And if the neglected public health issue isn’t properly addressed, then it will always continue to be neglected.”

“Second… Summer is finally here.  The air and water temperatures that people have been waiting for since spring have finally arrived. People want to get outside and want to get in water.  Please take a moment to educate yourself to water safety tips and water hazards.”

“Third… Most people do not really know the risks of water and all of the above and below is part of the Vicious Cycle of the Drowning Epidemic.

At this stage of the summer, the Vicious Cycle emphasis is that:

–People do not know that drowning is a leading cause of accidental death; i.e. Drowning is the:

  • Leading cause of accidental death for children 1-4
  • Second leading cause of accidental death for children 1-14 (second only to car accidents)
  • Fifth leading cause of accidental death for the nation as a whole

–People do not have the basic swimming skills to save their own lives in a water emergency according to a Red Cross Report

–People unknowingly support the Stigma of Drowning; i.e. blame the victims, blame the parents or caregivers, or blame it on Darwinism. And the Stigma of Drowning gives people the false sense of security that drowning can’t happen to them / drowning only happens to stupid people, which is not true.

ASSUME YOU ARE ALWAYS – “At Your Own Risk” and:
If you don’t know that drowning is a leading cause of accidental death.
If you don’t know your true swimming ability
If you don’t understand that drowning can happen to anyone
If you don’t know the Signs of Drowning
If you don’t know the water hazards such as the Great Lakes Dangerous Currents
If you don’t know and practice how to survive a drowning accident; e.g.the “Flip, Float, and Follow” Drowning Survival Strategy

Then you can’t accurately assess your own personal “Risks” of the “Swim at Your Own Risk” water warnings.

Drowning is 100% preventable. It’s time that we, as Americans, prevent drowning 100%!

Please take a moment to educate yourself to water safety tips and water hazards and sign a petition for a National Water Safety School Curriculum.

A Water Safety School Curriculum is the fastest approach to reach the largest audience and make a significant impact in the shortest amount of time. The GLSRP water safety curriculum would target elementary students, Junior High students, High School students, parents of each age group, and trainers of the curriculum.

In schools today there are fire drills, tornado drills, active shooter drills, and even earthquake drills, but very little water safety education.

YET more school aged children will likely die drowning each year than in fires, tornadoes, school shootings, and earthquakes combined. Combined! Water Safety Now!

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)