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Drownings up 78% – MC School Presentations

Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director

Great Lakes Drownings up 78% last year over 2015

Water safety presentations this week for Michigan City 

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics as it also announces Water Safety School Presentations March 27-31 for Michigan City, IN.

In 2016 the GLSRP tracked 98 Great Lakes drownings; 46 of those were in Lake Michigan plus 6 more Lake Michigan drowning accidents that were last listed in critical condition.  Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked over 536 Great Lakes drownings (Full statistics here).

The GLSRP will be performing 19 Great Lakes Water Safety School Presentations in 9 Michigan City schools this week. The presentations are being sponsored by ArcelorMittal and performed in partnership with the Michigan City school district, Fire Department, and Parks and Recreation Department.

“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 this past 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.”

“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.”

The dates, times, and locations of the presentations are below:

March 27
9:00 a.m. & 10:15 a.m. – Springfield Elementary, 3054 W 800 N
12:30 p.m. & 1:45 p.m. – Marsh Elementary, 400 E Homer St

March 28 
7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Michigan City High School (Period 1, 2, and 3) 8466 W Pahs Rd.
12:30 p.m. & 1:45 p.m. – Coolspring Elementary, 9121 W 300 N

March 29
9:00 a.m. & 10:15 a.m. – Joy Elementary, 1600 E Coolspring Ave
12:30 p.m. & 1:45 p.m. – Lake Hills Elementary, 201 Ferguson Rd

March 30
9:00 a.m. & 10:15 p.m. – Edgewood Elementary, 502 Boyd Circle
12:30 p.m. & 1:45 p.m. – Knapp Elementary, 321 Bolka Ave

March 31
9:00 a.m. & 10:15 a.m. – Pine Elementary, 1660 County Line Rd

The GLSRP’s 2017 calendar for school presentations in is filling up fast.

According to Benjamin, if you ask anyone anywhere in the United States, ‘what do you do if your clothes catch on fire’ they will tell you, ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll.’ But ask them ‘what do you do if you are drowning’ and you’ll most often get silence and blank stares.

Since June 2011, the GLSRP has performed 444 Great Lakes Water Safety Presentations in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states; 170 of those occurred in 2016 and it has plans for a lot more in 2017.

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! 

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 curriculum targets elementary students, Junior High students, High School students, parents of each age group, and trainers of the curriculum.


The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project will be presenting, “Compassionately Addressing the Stigma of Drowning,” April 13  at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s annual conference in Pittsburg, PA and April 20th at the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium’s annual conference in Sheboygan, WI.



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 (536+ drownings since 2010)
  2. Performs “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations and trainings (Over 444 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 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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