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Should Water Safety be in Schools?

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

 Should Water Safety be in Schools? 

Increasing Water Safety Common Sense 

Two Great Lakes Water Safety Classes this weekend. 

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) requests that you get into the conversation of a water safety curriculum in schools.

“Offering a comprehensive lake safety education in schools is paramount and the knowledge gained is lifelong,” said Beckie Perez, Co-Lead Port Washington, WI Waterfront Safety Advisory Committee.

“Every child should be educated to the point in which they know enough not to set foot in the Great Lakes based on the conditions, and if caught in a dangerous current, to flip, float, and follow.

“Drowning deaths in our Great Lakes will continue to rise if education isn’t implemented now. And that begins with our kids.  Most families, youth, tourists, and passersby alike are completely unaware of the potential dangers of the Great Lakes,” Perez concluded.

“With drowning the second leading cause of death in children, we owe it to our children to educate them about water safety,” said Bob Pratt, GLSRP executive director of education.  “Every year we have a fire safety week in our schools, water safety is just as important.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for Children 1-14, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle accidents; drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except birth defects; drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of death in the United States; Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male.

And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, and the global estimates may significantly underestimate the actual public health problem related to drowning.

“So with all these drowning death statistics, how come a water safety curriculum isn’t actively in schools,” asked Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director of public relations. “The Great Lakes are just one small territory, but almost every day we see new reports of people drowning in inland lakes, rivers, and back yard pools.”

The GLSRP tracks drownings in the Great Lakes and teaches “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes.

“We need to increase the water safety common sense of everyone,” Benjamin added.  “With time it can be done, just like seat belt safety in cars.  I can’t drive without my three year old telling me to put my seat belt on.”

“As a high school teacher, I would have gladly made time for such a program or went to learn it myself to teach,” said Linda Brown Patterson, owner of Paddle the Mitten.  “In the land of over 11,000 lakes, it’s important as ever.”

The GLSRP recently tailored its Great Lakes water safety class for a school curriculum and delivered it to about 500 in Port Washington, Wisconsin and about 300 New Buffalo, Michigan students and faculty.

The GLSRP has also partnered with the city of Portage, Indiana’s water safety expo June 21 and will be presenting to approximately 400 Boys and Girls Club and YMCA members and will also return to Port Washington June 23.

Drowning impacts everybody from every race and age group – Whether you are in your home, visiting your local recreation spot or on vacation to a beach destination.

The GLSRP “Water Safety School Curriculum” has an emphasis on the Great Lakes surf environment, but also covers other water hazards.  Its target audience is grade school, junior high, and high school students and parents of each age group.

GLSRP Drowning Statistics
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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.