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Mom Advocates Water Safety in Schools


Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553,
Jen Teal, Curriculum Coordinator, 248-341-6696,
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director, 708-903-0166, 

Mom of drowning victim

Advocates water safety in schools

2017 was a deadly year on the Great Lakes


West Bloomfield, MI – Mother of a Lake Michigan drowning victim wants water safety to be part of the school curriculum. She has teamed up with West Hills Middle School and the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) to perform Great Lakes Water Safety Presentations Monday, February 26, 2018, 12:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., at West Hills Middle School, 2601 Lone Pine Rd., West Bloomfield, MI 48323.

Christine Forystek lost her son, Corey McFry, 15, in a 2012 Lake Michigan drowning accident at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, Portage, IN.

He was playing in the waters of Lake Michigan with friends when, because of the rough waves and currents, he either fell or was swept from a sandbar into water over his head. Waves were estimated at 3 to 5 feet at the time he disappeared.

Her son was happy, loved to play Xbox, guitar and drums and someday wanted to be in a band, she said.

“Everyone has to be more careful around water. They (kids) think they are invincible. You just don’t know,” she said.

“I hope that this education and awareness catches people’s attention. Maybe, (with Corey’s death), it will hit home with them,” she said. 

WHO: Christine Forystek, West Hills Middle School, and the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP)
WHAT: Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentations
WHERE: West Hills Middle School, 2601 Lone Pine Rd., West Bloomfield, MI 48323
WHEN: Monday, February 26, 2018, 12:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

“This is a fantastic water safety opportunity for our fifth graders,” said Jen Teal. “We are working on a year-long study of the Great Lakes and are eager to bring in guest speakers on a variety of topics to help build their knowledge.”

“Drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue [according to a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report] and we know that it needs to be part of the school curriculum and addressed year round,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP executive director.  “It’s essential that we start talking about water safety now so that students are prepared once summer arrives.”

“Unfortunately water safety and drowning survival is not common sense,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP Executive Director. “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.”

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.

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 Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentations age appropriately address the following topics so that participants understand:

  1. The Scope of Drowning: The Big Picture of the Drowning Statistics – Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death.
  1. The Signs of Drowning: The Hollywood Version vs. the Actual Version and How to identify a person in trouble. 
  1. Drowning Survival Strategies: Flip, Float, and Follow 
  1. Great Lakes Dangerous Currents: Winds = Waves = Dangerous Currents (rip, longshore, structural, and outlet currents and offshore winds) ; i.e. how, where, and why dangerous currents occur and how to survive them 
  1. Basic Beach Safety: “Know before you go”; Swim near a lifeguard; Know where the emergency call boxes and rescue equipment are located; Wear a life jacket; “Steer clear of the pier”; know the signs of drowning and know Flip, Float, and Follow! 
  1. Basic Water Rescue: Throw. Don’t go. Water rescue is very dangerous. Often times the ‘would-be’ rescuer also becomes a drowning victim. It’s important to 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.

2017 Great Lakes Drownings
In 2017, the GLSRP tracked 88 Great Lakes drownings.  Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 632 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, 88 in 2017, and 6 to date in 2018). [Note: * = (+/-) Awaiting 100% confirmation of drowning.]

“We must do better,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP Executive Director. “Education, Engineering and Emergency Response are key.”


#GLSRP #BecauseIsaidIwould #stopdrowning

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation that is about saving lives. Nonprofit Tax ID Number: 45-5616079 


  1. Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics (625+ drownings since 2010)
  2. Performs “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations and trainings (Over 487 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