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

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Deadliest Drowning Season & Water Safety Expo

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

Deadliest start of Great Lakes drowning season;

4 drownings last weekend plus 2 this week; 30 to date in 2017 

GLSRP heading to Sleeping Bear Dunes Platte River

For water safety training and water safety expo 

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces that Great Lakes drownings are on record pace to be the deadliest year since it began tracking drownings in 2010.  In 2017, the GLSRP is tracking 30 Great Lakes drownings.  Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 567 Great Lakes drownings.  Full statistics here (74 drownings in 2010; 87 in 2011; 101 in 2012, 67 in 2013, 54 in 2014, 55 in 2015, 99 in 2016, and 30 to date in 2017). Note: * = (+/-) Awaiting 100% confirmation of drowning.

Last week there were four drownings in the Great Lakes and two more this week.

“We are on a record pace and with a hot summer predicted, it doesn’t look like the drownings are going to slow down,” said Dave Benjamin GLSRP Executive Director. “The question we want to ask people going to the beach, ‘Are you going to be one of our statistics?’”


The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) will be performing a Great Lakes Water Safety In-service Training for National Park Service (NPS) Employees and its volunteers. Its employees and volunteers consist of law enforcement, outreach/education interpreters, natural resource biologists, maintenance workers, administrative employees, and its park volunteers.

FRIDAY – The Training will be held Friday, June 16, 2017, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center Auditorium, 9922 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630, 231.326.4700 

Great Lakes Water Safety In-service Training

The In-service training will cover:

  1. The Big Picture of the Drowning Epidemic
  2. The Signs of Drowning
  3. The Flip, Float, and Follow Drowning Survival Strategy
  4. Great Lakes Dangerous Currents
  5. Basic Water Safety
  6. Basic Water Rescue

SATURDAY – On Saturday, June 17, 2017, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the GLSRP will be participating in the “Splash into Summer: Water Adventure Expo”.  The Expo will include demonstrations, skills practice, exhibits, and more.  The expo is an event for youth and adults of all ages and is geared for those who swim or paddle in rivers, inland lakes, or Lake Michigan. Kayak and stand-up-board (SUP) demonstrations, mock capsize/self-rescue exercises, tips for selecting a life jacket, rip current and hypothermia recognition, and drowning survival strategies are among the event offerings.

The event is hosted by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, in partnership with the American Canoe Association-Michigan Chapter, Benzie County EMS, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP), Lake Township Park, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Sea Grant, National Weather Service, Paul Oliver Hospital, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, with funding support from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes.  The event will be held at mouth of the Platte River, located at the end of Lake Michigan road. Head west off of M-22 on Lake Michigan road at the southern end of the park. The event is free. For more information contact Sue Jennings. (231) 326-4751.

Click here for full “Splash into Summer Water Adventure Expo” press release.

4 Great Lakes Drownings last weekend plus 2 more this week


  1. 06/10/2017 – John Doe, M-27, Holland, MI, Waves were 1-2 feet at the time, the water temperature was around 60 degrees and the yellow “caution” flags were flying. Bystanders who pulled the man from the water were performing CPR. He was then taken to the hospital, where he died.
  2. 06/10/2017 – John doe, M-34, Milwaukee man has died after being pulled from Lake Michigan on Saturday night; Shortly before sunset at Klode Park in Whitefish Bay. The water was unbearably cold.
  3. 06/10/2017 – Jane Doe, F-25, pulled from Lake Michigan near Loyola Beach on the North Side at 11:13 p.m. in the 1200 block of Touhy Avenue, according to Chicago Police. 


  1. 06/11/2017 – Curt Richard Vandevorde, M-61, of Grosse Pointe Farms, on Sunday jumped from the raft he was floating on into Lake Huron. The apparent drowning occurred in the waters off the 3900 block of North US-23 in AuSable Township


  1. 06/14/2017 – John Doe, M-50, vacationing at a resort near Port Colborne, Ont. was 180 metres from shore at the Sherkston Shores Beach Resort. Fell from an inflatable raft or “lounger”. He was out alone and police believe he went out too far and lost control. Early reports suggest the man went out alone in the small craft, but was spotted in distress later. He was last seen by witnesses trying to swim towards shore before they lost sight of him. The lounger was found several hundred meters from where the man was last seen.


  1. 06/13/2017 – John Doe*, M-?, body recovered roughly a mile off of Youngstown.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation that is about saving lives. 


  1. Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics (562+ drownings since 2010)
  2. Performs “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations and trainings (Over 460 in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states since 2011)
  3. Works with family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims to advocate water safety.
  4. 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.


  1. WGN Chicago’s Very Own segment, “Man makes water safety education his life’s passion”
  2. Dave Benjamin’s drowning accident and ‘Because I said I would’ water safety promise video
  3. John & Kathy Kocher’s “Gentle Giant” ‘Because I said I would promise video.

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Follow GLSRP on Twitter @ripcurrentsafeT