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Ohio mom water safety presentations

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

Ohio mom organizes three more water safety presentations in honor of her son

She’s also attending “Because I said I would” conference  in Columbus, Sept. 6

To launch “Water Safety School Curriculum” fundraiser 

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces that Melissa Zirkle has organized three “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations for Friday, September 5.  Two will be at Madison High School (8:15 a.m. and 9:10 a.m.) and one will be at Madison Junior High (2:00 p.m.) in honor of her son Jermaine who drowned in Lake Erie.

“My son’s life could have been saved had he only known to ‘flip, float, and follow’,” said Zirkle.  “We lived our lives on Lake Erie and were not educated about its dangers.”

In 2014 there have been 47 drownings in the Great Lakes; 16 of those in Lake Erie (full statistics).  Since 2010, 377 people have drowned in the Great Lakes (74 in 2010; 87 in 2011; 101 in 2012, and 68 in 2013).

“Having water safety in the curriculum is important to me because I know firsthand what it’s like to experience the outcome of not being educated in water safety.”

“Schools today have fire drills, tornado drills, active shooter drills, and some even have earthquake drills, but very few have any water safety education,” said Dave Benjamin GLSRP Executive Director.  “Unfortunately though drowning kills more school-aged children each year than fires, tornadoes, school shooters, and earthquakes combined.”

“Working in water safety and drowning prevention, it’s easy to see the big picture of drowning,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP Executive Director.  “It is a nationwide and worldwide epidemic that gets very little funding.”

According to the latest Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics drowning is the:

  • Leading cause of accidental injury death for children 1-4
  • 2nd leading cause for children 1-14
  • 5th leading cause for the entire nation
  • 3rd leading cause worldwide

“Here’s some irony, Corey Griffen, who is credited with co-founding the Ice Bucket Challenge sensation that has now raised over $100 million died in a drowning accident, a cause of death that gets very little attention,” added Benjamin.

“And there are millions of dollars of restoration projects that are all designed to bring more people to water.  One really has to question how much, if any of that money, goes to water safety,” Benjamin added.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) has been awarded a presentation booth for the inaugural “Because I said I would | ONE” conference September 6, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio (Video about conference).

Promise 1 Water Safety Curriculum

The Because I said I would | ONE is an inaugural event supporting the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. The event will tell moving stories of human perseverance through main stage speakers and a range of one-of-a-kind exhibitions.

Promise - Melissa

“I’m attending the conference because I’ve made it my goal to do everything I can to educate others in water safety,” said Zirkle.  “I want to share my story.  Maybe it will save someone’s life.”

“This conference is an opportunity for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project to reaffirm its commitment to eradicate drownings in the Great Lakes, cause and initiate a Water Safety School Curriculum, and lead the Great Lakes as the model for water safety nationwide and worldwide,” said Dave Benjamin, Executive Director.

The GLSRP will be launching a fundraiser on CrowdRise at the conference (


 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
  2. Teaches “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes
  3. Is the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip Current Awareness Campaign
  4. Hosts Surf Lifeguard Certification courses, and
  5. Works with family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims to advocate water safety. 

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.

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 2012 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner; and presented at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 9, 2012.