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

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Drowning Stats Update – South Wind Hazards

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

Drownings continue to rise

Lake Michigan leading the statistics

Hot weekend, strong south winds can cause hazards

Especially with beach toys 

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics. In 2017, the GLSRP is tracking 25 Great Lakes drownings.

Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 562 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 25 to date in 2017). Note: * = (+/-) Awaiting 100% confirmation of drowning.

Lake Michigan’s 14 drownings is leading the statistics in 2017; 265 Lake Michigan drownings since 2010.

SOUTH WIND HAZARDS – Here’s a link to Dangerous Currents Illustrations and pictures.

Offshore Winds today for the South End of Lake Michigan. Inflatables like beach balls and rafts as well as Kayaks and SUPs could get caught in winds and taken far offshore. Sideshore Winds could have the same effect on the eastern and western shores of Lake Michigan and causing strong longshore currents. If you are ever on a flotation device and get blown offshore, always stay with the flotation. Do not abandon it and attempt to swim to shore.

[It is important to understand Offshore Winds and Cold Water Upwelling, Longshore Currents for the East and West Coast of Lake Michigan, and Structural Currents Near all piers and structures, especially the south sides, windward sides, of structures.]

Here’s a Video of an inflatable alligator flipping through the air out into open water 100s of yards offshore. New Buffalo Lifeguards warn man about his flotation device, and he removes it. (pics).

Floatation toys can be a huge hazard. The winds can take them far and fast into deep cold water. Children or parents chasing them can get in trouble fast if they don’t let them go. Yesterday in New Buffalo, Michigan diligent lifeguards had their hands full with five rescues and constant warnings going out to beach patrons.


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