National Drowning Prevention Alliance
     “Lifesaver of the Year” Award 2012 & 2020
        “Community Lifesaver” Award 2016 & 2018

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Solving Great Lakes Drownings


Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director708-903-0166, 

“Solving the Great Lakes Drowning Epidemic”

to be presented at the State of Lake Michigan Conference; 

622 Great Lakes drownings since 2010; 292 in Lake Michigan (47%)

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces that it is performing two presentations at the State of Lake Michigan Conference November 8, 2:00 p.m. in the “Grand F” room at the Hyatt Regency, 333 Main St, Green Bay, WI.

The two presentations will be in the “Dangerous Currents in the Great Lakes: Observations, Forecasting, and Risk Communication” Session.

The first presentation, “Solving the Great Lakes Drowning Epidemic,” details what actions must be taken to solve the drowning crisis in the Great Lakes.

“To solve the Great Lakes drowning epidemic, we must all understand that water safety and drowning survival is not ‘Common Sense,’ yet people assume it is,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP Executive Director.

“If we want to stop drowning, we must understand the profile of the people drowning.  We must connect the dots of the research, statistics, and basic water safety information that are not common sense and then deliver it through a Water Safety School Curriculum.”

In 2017, the GLSRP is tracking 85 Great Lakes drownings.  Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 622 Great Lakes drownings; 292 of the Great Lakes drownings happened in Lake Michigan (47%).  Full statistics here.

The second presentation, “Compassionately Addressing the Stigma of Drowning,” addresses several barriers that must be overcome to properly fund water safety initiatives and to deliver the educational messages outreach.

“There is a lack of compassion for drowning victims and we call it ‘the Stigma of Drowning,’ added Benjamin. “So we must compassionately educate the public about the Stigma through factual water safety research, statistics, and drowning survival education.”

According to Benjamin, often times when a drowning happens, the Stigma of Drowning begins and it is the public shaming that blames the victim, blames the parents or caregivers, or blames it on Darwinism.

“Unfortunately this public opinion gives the false sense of security that ‘Drowning can’t happen to me because ‘I wouldn’t be that stupid,’  or ‘you can’t fix stupid’ and this is not the truth.”



The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation that is about saving lives. 


  1. Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics (622+ drownings since 2010)
  2. Performs “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations and trainings (Over 480 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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