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Great Lakes “Surf Lifeguard” Course

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

GLSRP to host ISLA “Surf Lifeguard Certification” course on Lake Michigan

The only open water / rough water course available on the Great Lakes

Rough Water Training

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces that it will be hosting a 30 hour ISLA “Surf Lifeguard Certification” course at Camp Geneva in Holland, MI, Friday, October 4, 8:00 a.m. to Sunday, October 6, 6:00 p.m.

Since 2010, 321 people have drowned in the Great Lakes.

“Right now most Great Lakes beaches do not have lifeguards and the beaches that do, do not have open water surf lifeguard certifications,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director. “Many only have pool lifeguard certifications.”

The class participants are traveling from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Connecticut. The participants consist of lifeguards, surfers, police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics.

The ISLA instructors are professional ocean lifeguard instructors from California. They normally travel to third world countries to teach these open water surf lifeguard skills, but they are making a special trip to the Midwest, USA (which is definitely not a third world country).

“The course is by no means easy,” said Henry Reyes, ISLA President.  “Participants will be pushed both physically and mentally in order for them to understand the dangers involved in being a surf lifeguard and to know their own limits.  The course will be challenging and certification will be based on ability and is not guaranteed.”

“The Great Lakes are a hot zone for drownings in the United States, with over three hundred drownings in the last four years.  Our goal is to share our skills so that beach communities can develop professional open water surf rescue programs for their lifeguards and first responders.”

“This is a unique opportunity for world class training,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP executive director.  “There are hardly any lifeguards at beaches anymore, and most drownings occur during moderate wave action of two to six feet.  Most lifeguards on the Great Lakes are not trained to surf rescue standards.”

“ISLA instructors are recognized throughout the world for their expertise, and course graduates are qualified to work in open water surf conditions on the Great Lakes and the oceans.”

Registration is Open – Limited seats available – To register for the “Surf Lifeguard Certification” course Friday, October 4-6 in Holland, MI, go to, review the four payment options, and choose the one that works for you. Any questions, call Dave Benjamin, 708-903-0166.

The International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) is a nonprofit organization working to prevent drowning. Since 2008, ISLA has been fighting against drowning on a global level by providing equipment, supplies, training and volunteers to beaches that have some of the highest drowning rates in the world and it has conducted humanitarian Projects in over 13 countries.  For more information about the ISLA certificate click here.

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The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is about saving lives.  It is a nonprofit corporation that is a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) that tracks drowning statistics, teaches “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes, and leads the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign on the Great Lakes.  Become a member of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

The GLSRP presented at the NDPA’s 12th Annual Symposium, March 14, 2013, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  It presented at the 2nd International Rip Current Symposium Nov. 1st, 2012 in Sydney, Australia; the 2012 winner of the “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community” award presented by the Dairyland Surf Classic; the 2011 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner; and presented at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 9, 2012.


SAFETY TIPS – What everyone should know before they put their toes on the beach: