FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director of Project Management & Public Relations
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553
GREAT LAKES DROWNINGS UP 55% OVER 2013
FAMILIES OF VICTIMS UNITE AT SHEDD AQUARIUM
Chicagoland Water Safety Classes June 1, 7, AND 8
GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces that Great Lakes drownings are up 55% over last year. On May 29, 2013 there were 11 Great Lakes drownings; none of those were in Lake Michigan. On May 29, 2014 there are 17 Great Lakes drownings; 11 of those drownings happened in Lake Michigan. Overall since 2010, 347 people have drowned in the Great Lakes (74 in 2010; 87 in 2011; 101 in 2012, and 68 in 2013).
SHEDD AQUARIUM PRESS CONFERENCE
Families and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims united at a Great Lakes Water Safety press conference on Thursday. Family members traveled from northern Michigan, Ohio and the Chicagoland area.
“Kathy and I were energized by today’s press conference,” said John Kocher. “Our lives are forever changed with the loss of our son Matthew. It is our hope by partnering with others, we envision the implementation of an educational model about water safety to save lives.”
The press conference had speakers from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Chicago Park District, the Great Lakes Commission, the National Weather Service, and Great Lakes drowning survivors.
Family & friends of drowning victims and drowning survivors:
—John & Kathy Kocher parents of Matthew Kocher, 15
—Evelyn Hernandez, drowning survivor who lost her boyfriend, Leo Dominguez
—Melissa Zirkle, mother of Jermaine, 13 and his brother Quandrel
—Vicki Cech, mother of Andy Fox, 17 and his brother, Ryan
–Drowning survivors Jamie Racklyeft and Dave Benjamin
CHICAGOLAND WATER SAFETY CLASSES
The GLSRP in partnership with the Chicago Park District, IL DNR, and Council of Great Lakes Governors will be performing three “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes in the Chicagoland area in coordination with the National Weather Service’s “National Rip Current Awareness Week” and the Great Lakes Governors annual “Beach Safety Awareness Week”.
Sun., June 1, 9:00 a.m., Waukegan, IL
Sat., June 7, 9:00 a.m., Chicago–Montrose Beach
Sun., June 8, 9:00 a.m., Chicago–Rainbow Beach
Please RSVP for Dates at www.glsrp.org/classes and follow drop-down menu.
FULL GLSPR CALENDAR
COLD WATER ALERT
Water temps in the Great Lakes can range anywhere from 36 degrees to 60 degrees this weekend. Cold water can impair a person’s ability to swim and cause a hyperventilation gasp reflex. Everyone should know the 1-10-1 Rule of Hypothermia.
- Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics
- Teaches “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes
- Is the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip Current Awareness Campaign
- Hosts Surf Lifeguard Certification courses, and
- Works with family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims to promote 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 2011 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner; and presented at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 9, 2012.