FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director
Great Lakes Drownings continue to rise
Lake Michigan water safety presentations
Wednesday, Washington Park, Michigan City, IN
GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) issues a CRITICAL GREAT LAKES DROWNING UPDATE:
There have been 554 Great Lakes drownings since 2010.
Of the 554 Great Lakes drownings since 2010, 261 happened in Lake Michigan (i.e. 47% of Great Lakes drownings happened in Lake Michigan)
2016 had 46 Lake Michigan drownings; an 84% increase over 2015’s 25 Lake Michigan drownings.
To date in 2017, there have been 10 Lake Michigan drownings; a 43% increase over 2016’s 7 Lake Michigan drownings to this date, May 16.
WEDNESDAY WATER SAFETY AT THE BEACH
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is partnering with the City of Michigan City, the Michigan City Fire Department, and Michigan City Parks and Recreation Department lifeguards to perform water safety presentations for Barker Middle School students Wednesday, May 17.
The presentations will be performed at Washington Park Beach Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. These presentations come as the summer heat and drowning season has begun.
The importance of water safety education
“It’s truly saddening that we were performing water safety presentations on the beach just 65 miles away when Tianna Hollinside, 13, drowned in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP Executive Director. “Water safety education needs more reach.”
“It’s heartbreaking to know that another preventable tragedy has slipped through our fingers,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP Executive Director. “If we educated water safety like we do with other public safety issues, this may have been avoided.”
In schools today there are fire drills, tornado drills, school shooter drills, and even earthquake drills in some schools in Illinois and Indian yet little to no water safety education. And it’s likely that more school aged children will die drowning each year than in fires, tornadoes, school shooters, and earthquakes combined.
“Water safety is extremely important in our area,” said Amy Hammon, Curriculum Coach at Barker Middle School. “Students do not realize the dangers of Lake Michigan.”
“Our school has had two tragedies last summer. It’s time to infuse pier and water safety into our curriculum each year and turn the tragedies into something positive and meaningful that will save lives.”
The Michigan City Fire Department is always concerned about the safety of our personnel and the safety of the public,” stated Fire Chief Randy Novak. “Drownings are 100% preventable, and we are committed to preventing all drowning’s in Michigan City and adjacent communities.”
Drownings on the rise
The GLSRP is currently tracking 17 Great Lakes drownings in 2017. In 2016 the GLSRP tracked 99 Great Lakes drownings; 46 of those were in Lake Michigan plus 6 more Lake Michigan drowning accidents that were last listed in critical condition; up 84% over 2015’s 25 Lake Michigan drownings. Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked over 554 Great Lakes drownings (Full statistics here).
“Unfortunately we know that the big picture of drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue [2015 WHO report] and we know that it needs to be part of the school curriculum and addressed year round,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director.
“Water safety and drowning survival is not common sense. It’s a silent epidemic that gets very little proactive funding or attention. We believe that water safety and drowning survival is not rocket science,” Benjamin added. “It is simple bullet pointed information that is not being efficiently or effectively delivered.”
LAKE MICHIGAN WATER SAFETY PRESENTATION
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
The City of Michigan City, Fire Department, and Parks and Recreation Department
Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentation
Washington Park Beach, Michigan City, IN
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Because drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue, so stay safe and have fun at the beach this summer!
ABOUT THE GLSRP
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).
- Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics (554+ drownings since 2010)
- Performs “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations and trainings (Over 420 in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states since 2011)
- Works with family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims to advocate water safety.
- Hosts Open Water Surf Lifeguard Training and First Responder In-service Training
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.
- WGN Chicago’s Very Own segment, “Man makes water safety education his life’s passion”
- Dave Benjamin’s drowning accident and ‘Because I said I would’ water safety promise video
- John & Kathy Kocher’s “Gentle Giant” ‘Because I said I would promise video.
Like GLSRP’s Facebook Page
Follow GLSRP on Twitter @ripcurrentsafeT