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Drowning Season – Water Safety is not common sense

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

Summer hasn’t started, but drowning season has

What is it going to take for water safety to become common sense?

GLSRP Water Safety Class Sunday, 10 a.m. in Evanston 

GREAT LAKES, USA – Spring hasn’t come to an end, but drowning season is in full swing in the Great Lakes region. The headlines pretty much say quite a bit for an accidental cause of death that gets very little funding and attention.

A body was pulled from Lake Michigan and a 4-year-old was pulled from a pool in Warren Ville on Friday as a sailor drowns in Lake Erie on Saturday.

A 13-month-old drowned in Ohio, there’s a missing boater in Lake Ontario, and a New Buffalo, NY 13-year-old is in drug induced coma after drowning in a school pool.

A dad drowns trying to rescue his daughter in Ontario lake and the bodies of two teens are recovered in a Michigan lake.

As several more are rescued:
Lake Huron Kayak rescue
Lake Huron Canoeist rescue
Kayakers rescued from frigid Little Traverse Bay

With these headlines, one would hardly notice that this is the National Weather Service’s “National Beach Safety Awareness Week” and the Council of Great Lakes Governors “Beach Safety Awareness Week”, June 7 – 15, 2015.

One group that is trying to make a difference is performing a GLSRP Great Lakes Water Safety class Sunday, June 7, 10:00 a.m. at the Northwestern Sailing Center, 1823 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL.

“Most people do not know that drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the nation,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director.  “And with summer upon us, many people will be flocking to water destinations to enjoy the outdoors.”

“Water safety is not common sense like Stop, Drop, and Roll or putting on your seat belt when you get in a car. There’s a huge gap for water safety and other public safety initiatives.”

The World Health Organizations stated this year that drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue.

“Water safety should be a part of every school curriculum,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP executive director. “Everyone should know basic water safety information from an early age. I’ve seen how effective fire safety education is.  It’s time we started teaching water safety in all of our schools.”

In schools today there are fire drills, tornado drills, school shooter drills, and some states even have earthquake drills.

Unfortunately though, each year in the United States more school aged children will likely die drowning than in fires, tornadoes, school shooters, and earthquakes combined.  It’s time for a water safety school curriculum in the Great Lakes region and nationwide.

The “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes this weekend are FREE and OPEN to the public, surfers, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, water rescue team members, dive team members, and Coast Guard.

The “Great Lakes Water Safety” class 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
  • 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
  • Enroll in lifesaving, first aid and CPR training from accredited agencies.

GLSRP Drowning Statistics

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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. Hosts Surf Lifeguard Certification courses (pics), and
  4. Works with family and friends  of Great Lakes drowning victims to advocate water safety.