47 Great Lakes Drownings in 2021
22 of those in Lake Michigan
993 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010
(+5 last listed in critical condition)
(Last updated 07/30/2021, 8:00 a.m. CST)
OVERVIEW OF GREAT LAKES DROWNINGS
74 drownings in 2010
88 in 2011
99 in 2012
67 in 2013
54 in 2014
55 in 2015
99 in 2016
88 in 2017
117 in 2018
97 in 2019
108 in 2020
47 to date in 2021
993 since 2010
2021 = 47
Lake Michigan = 22 (+2 unknown final outcome)
Lake Superior = 2
Lake Huron = 9
Lake Erie = 8 (+2 unknown final outcomes)
Lake Ontario = 6
2020 = 108
Lake Michigan = 56 (+4 unknown condition)
Lake Superior = 2
Lake Huron = 11
Lake Erie = 19
Lake Ontario = 21 (+1 unknown condition +1 missing)
LAKE MICHIGAN = 22 (+3 Last listed in critical condition)
- 01/21/2021– GARDEN TOWNSHIP, MI – ICE FISHING – Edward Carl Lester, M-64, of Garden was recovered Thursday afternoon from the waters of Lake Michigan in what Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers said was an accidental drowning. Lester’s wife contacted a neighbor to help look for her husband when he did not return from his routine fishing trip at his normal time, around 10 a.m. Using binoculars to scan the water, the neighbor could see an object floating near Kates Bay on Big Bay De Noc, offshore of Garden. The neighbor called 911 dispatchers at 1:46 p.m. First responders arrived and could see a body floating in the water near what appeared to be a pressure crack that formed in the ice, exposing about 10- to 15-feet of water. Using their department-issued equipment to safely get onto the ice, Conservation Officer Chris Lynch and Brett Bednarski, a local firefighter who also works as a DNR fire officer, were able to reach Lester’s body, which was located at arm’s length in the water. EMS, in consultation with the county medical examiner, pronounced Lester dead at the scene. Officers said Lester had been operating his off-road vehicle either to or from his ice shanty, which was located on the far side of the ice floe that had been separated by the pressure crack. It appeared he had navigated his ORV into the open water, where his ORV sank 10- to 15-feet.
- 03/26/2021– CHICAGO, IL – Calumet Beach, 9800 block of South Avenue G, Jerald Piendak of Gresham, M-late 20s , he was initially taken in critical condition to Trinity Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
- 03/28/2021– ST. JOSEPH, MI – PIER WASHOFF 5:30 P.M. – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Dakota Yergeau, M-27, Two men were on the pier at Silver Beach in St. Joseph when the wave swept both of them into Lake Michigan around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. One of the two was able to get back up on the pier and tossed a life ring to his friend still in the water. Friend grabbed on momentarily, he was about 70 yards off the pier, he was able to pull him about 20 yards when he lost grip and went underneath the water.
- 04/18/2021– MANITOWOC – BOATING – Kyle Ahola, M-47 (Obit) – Manitowoc Fire Rescue Department personnel responded to the north pier, or Blue Rail, at 475 Maritime Drive in Manitowoc at around 7:30 a.m. Sunday for the report of a man in the water in need of assistance. The first arriving officers met with the caller on the north containment area, where they were able to see a person in the water. Additional officers responded to the Manitowoc Marina, where they accessed a boat that was being launched by an off-duty detective. Fire Rescue personnel also responded with their boat along with Rescue Squad personnel. Police located the man in the water, began life-saving measures and took the man to the beach on the north side of the entryway to the north pier. The man was then taken to an area hospital, where he later died. An officer later found the man’s boat just off the beach area, directly across from Dairy Queen in the 800 block of Memorial Drive.
- 05/01/2021– EAST CHICAGO, IN – Kelvin Soto Crespo M-20, of Puerto Rico, The 18-foot Bayliner runabout capsized. He was not wearing a life vest. Strong south winds. The Coast Guard says two of the boaters were treated for hypothermia and the third is in critical condition. Body Recovered June 8, 2021. Body positively ID’d on June 15, 2021.
- 05/07/2021– CHICAGO – BODY RECOVERED – NEAR NAVY PIER– The body of a woman was recovered from Lake Michigan near Navy Pier Friday morning. Police and fire crews were called to the 600 block of East Grand Avenue around 6:25 a.m., according to Chicago Police. They recovered the body of a woman, believed to be in her 30s. No other details were released. Police said detectives were conducting a death investigation.
- 5/18/2021– GRAND HAVEN PIER – FALL OR JUMP – John Doe, M-58, Witnesses reported hearing a splash, and seeing the man in Lake Michigan early Tuesday morning. It is not known whether the man jumped into the water or fell off south pier at Grand Haven State Park around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.
- 06/09/2021 – CHICAGO – 65th ST., JACKSON PARK – John Doe, M-?, The man, 36, fell into the water about 8:30 p.m. near 6500 South at the Lakefront, according to officials. He was pulled out by about 8:50 p.m. after “onlookers” were able to show Fire Department divers where he had gone in the water. Rescue crews performed CPR in an ambulance. The man was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition. The CFD said he was underwater for more than 20 minutes. Additional link.
- 06/10/2021 – CHICAGO – Grant Park, 500 block of South Lake Shore Drive – John Doe, witnesses alerted officers to an unresponsive male at the bottom of the lake.
- 06/13/2021 – MICHIGAN CITY, MI – WASHINGTON PARK – NO LIFEGUARDS – Donald Turner, M-28, of Porter, Indiana, was swimming with his girlfriend about 4:40 p.m. when she began to struggle. Turner was able to get her to safety before he went underwater and didn’t resurface.
- 06/19/2021– RACINE, WI – ZOO BEACH – DANGEROUS CURRENTS – 6:30 p.m. – Eisha “Naomi” N. Figuereo Colon, F-10, A 10 year old girl has died after being pulled from the water at Zoo Beach Saturday.
- 06/19/2021– RACINE, WI – NORTH BEACH – 6:30 p.m. – Yadyinder Singh, M-17, of Franklin. Singh was unresponsive when rescued him about 200 yards offshore from Lake Michigan and died during the early morning hours of Monday from injuries consistent with drowning
- 06/19/2021– MICHIGAN CITY, IN – WASHINGTON PARK BEACH – SWIMMING – WAVE – 8:30 p.m. – – Yasheonna White, F-11, of Indianapolis – One juvenile and two of her family members were in the water when a wave struck them and pulled the group into deeper water. Nearby good Samaritans were able to help rescue two of the swimmers, but the third never resurfaced. The missing juvenile’s body was located by Michigan City Fire Department Divers at 9:52 p.m. She was transported to Franciscan Hospital in Michigan City where she was pronounced deceased.
- 06/21/2021– RACINE, WI – NORTH PIER – SWIMMING – 5:02 p.m. – Lily Limbert, F-14, of Greendale, WI died 9 days after pulled from water. Two teenage girls struggled in a strong current and were pulled into deeper water and into the rocks surrounding North Pier. The first girl was rescued with cuts and scratches to her body. The second girl was transported to Children’s Hospital by Flight for Life in critical condition. She died 9 days later. “Today it looked like a pretty bad day because of how windy it was,” said Briscoe.
- 06/27/2021– WAUKEGAN, IL – Ivory Biggs, M-35, Waukegan Yacht Club, 199 South Harbor Place Waukegan Municipal Beach 12:00 a.m.
- 07/04/2021 – GARY, IN – LAKE STREET BEACH – WALKING ON SANDBAR/DROP OFF – Julio Cesar Ramos, M-20, of Bensenville, IL – Authorities were searching Sunday evening for a 20-year-old man who fell off a sand bar and disappeared in Lake Michigan at Lake Street Beach, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said. The man was walking with a friend on the sandbar when he went underwater, the sheriff said.
- 07/05/2021 – ZION, IL – Illinois Beach State Park – 6 p.m. – Casimir Rincon Sr., M-60 Good Samaritans recovered a pulseless man who had been in Lake Michigan. The Zion Fire-Rescue District and Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded Monday to Isherwood Beach off of 17th Street for a report of a water rescue at the north end of the Illinois Beach State Park, which is an area referred to as the North Dunes. The bystanders told rescue crews the victim appeared to be in distress and went under the water for an extended period of time. Firefighters and paramedics immediately started CPR on Rincon, who was unconscious and not breathing. Paramedics continued advanced life support care on the victim and transported him to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan where he was pronounced dead.
- 07/05/2021 – MACKINAW CITY – KAYAKING – Chase Dylan Jesse, age 20, died unexpectedly in a kayaking/drowning accident on July 5, 2021 while vacationing in Mackinaw City with family.
- 07/08/2021 – ST. JOSEPH, MI TISCORNIA PARK – FISHING – PIER WASHOFF – AROUND 10 AM – Sammuel Sohn, M-80. Search crews recovered the body of an 80-year-old fisherman from Lake Michigan Saturday. Sammuel Sohn was reported missing by family members on Thursday, July 8 when he disappeared from the north pier at Tiscornia Park. Swimming conditions on Lake Michigan were deemed dangerous by the National Weather Service with waves reaching an estimated five feet. Divers from Michigan State Police and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office located Sohn’s body near the pier shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, July 10.
07/09/2021 – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – Robert J. Iatarola, M-34, of Bloomington – located offshore from the Michigan City lighthouse. Iatarola came to the lake to celebrate the 4th of July with friends and family and decided to stay longer. The last contact he had with family was on July 9.
07/17/2021 –DANE COUNTY – CAVE POINT COUNTY PARK, DOOR COUNTY– Zachary B. Nessman, M-35, of Manitowoc – preliminary investigation suggests the death was an accidental drowning with medical complications. Foul play is not believed to have been a factor, as the Door County Sheriff’s Office has listed the incident as an “accidental near-drowning with medical complications.”
07/26/2021 – LAKE FOREST, IL – Fort Sheridan Beach, 10 Cliff Road, Lake Forest, 3:30 p.m. Sunday – Jianyun Shen, M-35, of Schaumburg, IL – Dispatchers received a report of a man in distress in the water. Paramedics transported the victim to Highland Park Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
UNKNOWN FINAL OUTCOME = 2
- 06/14/2021 – CHICAGO – FOSTER BEACH – WOMAN PULLED FROM WATER – Jane Doe, F-? – There was a massive search for the woman at Foster Avenue Beach after going missing while swimming. The Chicago Fire Department Marine Unit rescued the woman and she was taken to a hospital. Her condition has been stabilized.
- 06/20/2021– CRITICAL CONDITION – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – WASHINGTON PARK BEACH – 1:00 p.m., Sunday– Jane Doe, F-14 of Dayton, Ohio. Emergency personnel were called after the girl was seen struggling in the water. A jet-ski operator found the girl under the surface and alerted a Michigan city Fire Department diver. The girl was rescued and taken to Franciscan Health Michigan City, and then airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital.
- 07/28/2021 – MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood, South Shore Beach – John Doe M- 53 – County Sheriff’s Office said witnesses called 911 around 7:17 p.m. to report they saw a man and woman in distress off South Shore Park. The 53-year-old man was brought to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, where his condition is unknown.
LAKE SUPERIOR = 2
- 07/22/2021– MARQUETTE, MI – MISSING KAYAKER – Brett Russell Harriman, 40, of Marquette was last seen entering the Great Lake near the pavilion off Presque Isle between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Officers have checked the shoreline and nearby islands for Harriman, but he has not been located. His capsized kayak was later found approximately a half mile north of Partridge Island and brought to shore. (Still missing. Search Suspended.)
- 07/26/2021– ONTARIO, CANADA – SWIMMING – 6 p.m. ET Monday near Thunder Bay’s Marina Park – John Doe, M-?. The 911 caller said a male was swimming but had not returned to shore.
LAKE HURON = 9
- 01/17/2021– Victoria Harbour – Snowmobiling – Jereld Bremner, M-49 – Divers pulled the bodies of 49-year-old Jereld Bremner and 19-year-old Donald Bremner, a father and son, after a massive search for the two missing snowmobilers on Monday morning.
- 01/17/2021– Victoria Harbour – Snowmobiling – Donald Bremner, M-19. The initial search began Sunday evening after residents reported hearing screams for help coming from the water near Robins Point Road and Osborne Street.
- 01/17/2021– Penetanguishene Harbour – Snowmobiling – William Fournier, M-40, Midland Point Penetanguishene. Meanwhile, another snowmobiler was killed after police say he also went through the ice, this time in on Sunday.
- 05/30/2021–BAY CITY, MI – BODY RECOVERED– Cole Zielinski, M-29, no life jacket – The body of a missing boater was found Saturday in Saginaw Bay, ending a search that began during the Memorial Day weekend. Zielinski fell in the water last Sunday while trying to keep a dog in the boat, more than a mile into the bay.
- 06/12/2021– WASAGA BEACH, AREA 2, 5:30 P.M. – OFFSHORE WINDS – John Doe M- 22, of Brampton died. He was pulled from water off Wasaga Beach on Saturday night. He had floated several hundred meters off shore on a “flotation toy” and could no longer be seen near it.
- 07/02/2021 – SUDBURY – NEAR SPRING BAY, ONT. – CANOEING – (Anthony) Howard Jocko, M-68, of Hanmer, Ont. On July 2, a couple had left in a canoe on Lake Huron. Both wearing their Personal Floatation Devices (PDF) and later capsized near Dominion Bay on Lake Huron. One of the canoeists was located awake and hypothermic by a civilian on July 3 close to the shoreline of Spring Bay and transported to local hospital by Sudbury-Manitoulin Paramedic Services. JRCC aircraft located the other canoeist (still wearing PFD) dead.
- 07/06/2021 – HARBOR BEACH, MI, Around 3:15 p.m. – Jeffrey S. Hineman, M-66, Man dies while bathing in Lake Huron – He told his wife and friends that he planned to take a bath in chest deep water in the lake near Harbor Beach. They found him floating and unresponsive in the water a short time later. Bystanders pulled Hineman from the water and attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
- 07/12/2021 – PORT ELGIN BEACH, SAUGEEN SHORES PADDLE BOARDING – John Doe, M-38, The Saugeen Shores Police Service and South Bruce OPP have confirmed that a fatal drowning occurred recently at Port Elgin beach. On July 12th at 11:49 a .m., officers responded alongside Saugeen Shores Fire Department and Bruce County Paramedic Services EMS to the Main Beach in Port Elgin for a possible drowning. Witnesses stated a paddle boarder had fallen off their board in deep water beyond the marked swimming area and appeared to be in distress. Witnesses heard calls for help and a number of civilians managed to pull the paddle boarder to shore and lifesaving CPR measures were performed. The victim, identified as a 38-year-old Burlington resident, was taken to local hospital where they were later pronounced deceased.
- 07/19/2021 – SWIMMING – Manitowaning Bay, off Manitoulin Island. On Monday night – Catherine Plomske, F-64, of Waterloo drowned while swimming. Police there said a couple went swimming and Plomske went underwater and didn’t resurface.
LAKE ERIE = 8 (+2 Unknown Final Outcome)
- 02/01/2021– LORAIN COUNTY, OH — Nathan Orona, M-20, last seen on Feb. 1 in Lorain County. The body was pulled from Lake Erie, 03/28/2021.His friend, Alaina Camacho, F-18, is still missing. Investigators said Tuesday they believe the deaths of two friends found in Lake Erie were the result of an accident.
- 02/01/2021– LORAIN, OH – Alaina Camacho’s, F-18, Her body was pulled from water on Monday, 03/27/2021. Camacho, 18, was last seen on Feb. 1. She was spotted that day with Nathan Orona, 20, whose body was pulled from Lake Erie on Sunday. After Orona’s body was found, divers and a heavy wreck reclamation team were called to comb the waters for Camacho and her gold car. Both were found and pulled from Lake Erie on Monday. Lorain County authorities say they believe the deaths of two friends, whose bodies were discovered in Lake Erie nearly two months after they disappeared, were the result of a tragic accident.
- 02/20/2021– LUNA PIER, MI – Michael Hilsenbeck, M-?, The body of Michael Hilsenbeck was found in Allens Cove by two men fishing from a boat late Thursday night. The night fishermen were in the marsh area spear fishing when they noticed the body floating in the water.
- 03/26/2021 Rabin Subedi, M-21 – Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook determines Subedi drowned. Family had reported him missing on Friday night after he failed to complete a planned trip to Ohio. There are no signs of foul play. Subedi’s body was found along the shores of Lake Erie by the old Erie Coke Plant. The 21-year-old was missing for over a month. BODY RECOVERED 05/06/2021
- 06/05/2021– TURKEY POINT – about 5:30 p.m., Mustapha Adam, M-8 of Toronto Upon arrival, police learned that the boy left a floating device that he was on just off Cedar Drive in Turkey Point and attempted to swim back to shore. Family members contacted police when they were unable to find their son. At approximately 2:15 p.m. Sunday, members of the OPP underwater search and recovery unit and OPP marine unit located the eight-year-old missing child deceased.
- 07/05/2021– EUCLID, OH, Villa Angela Beach, around 7:15 p.m. – Omarion Baker, M-13 – Boy drowns in Lake Erie – Police responded to calls about a teen who went under while swimming at the Euclid Creek Reservation beach. Witnesses say the victim was underwater for about 40 minutes before being recovered. Metroparks spokesman Jeff Tolman said the boy was swimming west of the designated swimming area at Villa-Angela Beach when he went under the water. Lifeguards are stationed at that portion of the beach from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tolman said. The boy drowned about 7:15 p.m.
- 07/21/2021– FISHING – FELL OFF BOAT – 7 p.m., Wednesday – Off the shores of Malahide Township between Port Bruce and Port Burwell – Ryan Leppard-Groenewegen, M-49, of London. He had fallen off a boat and into the water while fishing with friends. He was pulled from the water and transported back onto land, where he was then taken to the hospital. The victim’s friends, along with paramedics, had attempted to enact life-saving measures, but the man eventually died in hospital.
- 07/24/2021 – CONNEAUT, OH – SWIMMING NEAR BREAKWALL – WOULD-BE RESCUER – Lee Weber, M-38, Weber was on a family outing in Ohi. His family said he got caught along a breakwall and went underwater.
UNKNOWN FINAL OUTCOME = 2
- 06/13/2021 – 1 CRITICAL CONDITION – EUCLID BEACH 7:45 P.M. – John Doe, M-4, Coast Guard rescues two kids, older man from Lake Erie at Euclid Beach Park – Everyone involved was sent to the hospital. The four-year-old boy is in critical condition. The older man and the eight-year-old girl are in stable condition. A 911 call for the group, on an inner tube with three other people, went out around 7:45 p.m. The caller stated the man and young children were in need of help.
- 06/13/2021 – 1 SERIOUS CONDITION, – CLEVELAND — Northeast Yacht Club – John Doe, M-28, Man transported to hospital after water rescue on Lake Erie. The USCG 9th District responded after someone jumped into shallow water and emerged from the surface in severe pain. Another individual who was on the scene called authorities and helped the injured swimmer onto a paddle board. The 28-year-old man was transported to University Hospitals in serious condition. This was the second consecutive day a water rescue was necessary at Northeast Yacht Club.
LAKE ONTARIO = 7
- 01/16/2021– OSHAWA – FAREWELL STREET & HARBOR ROAD – Durham Regional Police are investigating after a body was found in Lake Ontario in Oshawa Saturday morning. Police say human remains were located in the water just after 10:30 a.m. near Farewell Street and Harbour Road. The death does not appear to be suspicious at this time, police say. The investigation is ongoing.
- 03/05/2021– BOWMANVILLE – John Doe, ?-?, Durham police are investigating after a body was discovered on the ice near Cedar Crest Beach Road in Bowmanville. Officers got the call just before 1 p.m. on Friday, after someone reported seeing what appeared to be a body out on Lake Ontario.
- 05/22/2021– TORONTO – FALL INTO WATER – John Doe, M-?, a man was pulled out of Lake Ontario near Toronto’s Harbourfront area Saturday morning around 8:18 a.m. Police responded to reports of someone drowning at Queens Quay West and Lower Simcoe Street. The man was holding onto a life ring but was pulled under the dock. The marine unit was able to recover both the man and woman. “Toronto marine was able to get him to shore. He was later pronounced dead.
- 06/05/2021 – MISSING SWIMMER BODY RECOVERED – Rochester, N.Y. around 6:30 p.m. the boater said a person entered the water from a boat about a quarter mile north of Irondequoit Bay and did not resurface. On Sunday a body was recovered from Lake Ontario in the “general vicinity” of where a person was reported missing on Saturday.
- 06/08/2021 – Mimico – Body found off Lake Ontario shore. Death not considered suspicious
- 06/19/2021 – ROCHESTER, N.Y. – SWIMMING – John Doe, M-18, Good Samaritans pulled the man from the water shortly before 2 p.m. and began CPR. The victim was taken to Rochester General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The drowning happened outside of the designated swimming area.
- 07/05/2021 – EUCLID, OH, Villa Angela Beach, around 7:15 p.m. – Omarion Baker, M-13 – Boy drowns in Lake Erie – Police responded to calls about a teen who went under while swimming at the Euclid Creek Reservation beach. Witnesses say the victim was underwater for about 40 minutes before being recovered. Metroparks spokesman Jeff Tolman said the boy was swimming west of the designated swimming area at Villa-Angela Beach when he went under the water. Lifeguards are stationed at that portion of the beach from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tolman said. The boy drowned about 7:15 p.m.
108 Great Lakes Drownings in 2020
56 of those in Lake Michigan
947 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010
(Last updated 12/25/2020, 11:00 p.m.)
OVERVIEW OF GREAT LAKES DROWNINGS
74 drownings in 2010
88 in 2011
99 in 2012
67 in 2013
54 in 2014
55 in 2015
99 in 2016
88 in 2017
117 in 2018
97 in 2019
109 to date in 2020
947 since 2010
2020 = 109
Lake Michigan = 56 (+4 unknown condition)
Lake Superior = 2
Lake Huron = 11
Lake Erie = 18
Lake Ontario = 21 (+1 unknown condition)
2019 = 97
Lake Michigan = 48
Lake Superior = 5
Lake Huron = 8
Lake Erie = 28
Lake Ontario = 9
In addition to the confirmed drownings, there are an additional 3 drowning incidents where the victims were last listed as “Critical Condition,” “Unknown Condition,” “Serious Condition,” or “Missing”. The GLSRP is awaiting updates on these incidences.
LAKE MICHIGAN = 56 (Plus 4 unknown condition)
- 01/01/2020 – HOLLAND, MI – SWEPT OFF PIER – Eliza Trainer, F-16, walking on the Holland State Park pier about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday when a large wave knocked Trainer and a friend into the water. One friend was able to climb out of the water and seek help, but 16-year-old Eliza Trainer was swept away and is presumed to have drowned. Her body was recovered on 03/19/2020.
- 02/19/2020 – ST. JOSEPH, MI – Jane Doe, F-55, Her body washed up on shore at Tiscornia Park in St. Joseph, Michigan. The Asian female was wearing a green jacket and sweatpants and matched the description of a woman missing from Chicago, Illinois.
- 02/25/2020 – MUSKEGON, MI – Ramal Roby, M-30, of Muskegon Heights. It’s believed he drowned Tuesday night after venturing onto unstable ice. Roby and a woman had parked their car at a road-closed barricade near the city’s water filtration plant. The man walked out onto the ice from there and never came back. His body was recovered 03/26/2020. The cause of death was determined to be accidental drowning.
- 05/05/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – Everett Chinn Jr., M-28, Person found dead in Lake Michigan near Grant Park. The male was found about 4:45 p.m. in the water near Balbo Drive.
- 05/16/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – Armando Carrasquillo, M-41, was pronounced dead May 26 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. On 05/16/2020 he fell into DuSable Harbor in Lake Michigan at the 200 block of North Lakefront Drive.
- 06/02/2020 – MILWAUKEE – MCKINLEY BEACH – TUESDAY EVENING – John Doe, M-?, Tuesday night first responders searched Lake Michigan for two missing swimmers. They made it out and are safe. But a third person who was searching for them on a boat also went missing. The next day a man was pulled from the water at McKinley Beach Wednesday, June 3 around 7 a.m. Upon arrival, deputies observed that the man had already been removed from the water. The MFD performed life-saving measures on the man but the man was subsequently pronounced deceased. Emergency responders could be seen giving the man CPR for more than 30 minutes.
- 06/06/2020 – HOLLAND, MI – PIER JUMPING & SWIMMING – NO LIFEGUARDS – Christian Ngabo, M-17, Ottawa County and the US Coast Guard are searching near the pier at Holland State Park for an 18 year-old missing in the water. Two people jumped off the pier just before 4 p.m. Saturday. One of them made it to shore, but the other hasn’t been seen since. 06/07/2020 – BODY RECOVERED.
- 06/06/2020 – HOLLAND, MI – PLAYING IN THE WAVES/SWIMMING – NO LIFEGUARDS – Iain Rowe, M-6, He was in waist deep water and playing in the waves when he disappeared.
- 06/02/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – Richard Holic, M-72, of Rogers Park – The body pulled from the water near the mouth of Belmont Harbor was identified as Richard Holic. Holic went missing while canoeing in Lake Michigan near the 1200 block of West Chase Avenue in Rogers Park.
- 06/16/2020 – SOUTH HAVEN, MI – NO LIFEGUARDS – Jazmyn Patterson, F-19, Jazmyn Patterson was atop a flotation device with her 4-year-old cousin. “They just started floating further and further away,” said Jamesha Mabrey, Jazmyn’s sister. That’s when Mabrey told her sister to come back towards shore. “On the way back, she sat up on the edge of the floaty to paddle, and that’s when she flipped over,” said Mabrey. Both went underwater, but Jazmyn was able to push her cousin towards shore. People on shore managed to rescue the 4-year-old thereafter, but Jazmyn went under water. A good samaritan on a boat brought Jazmyn back to shore, where life-saving measures were attempted. 08/2019 Petition for lifeguards in South Haven. 08/07/2013 South Haven Settles drowning lawsuit.
- 06/23/2020 – CHESTERTON, IN – SWIMMING – NO LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY – Porter Beach/Indiana Dunes State Park – SWIMMING – NO LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY – Dominic Snovicky, of Plainfield., M-18, witnesses said the teen was hit by a wave and was underwater for about an hour and a half. Officials said there was a beach hazard warning for high waves and dangerous swimming conditions at the time, with wave heights forecast at 3 to 6 feet and strong rip currents expected. There was also no lifeguard on duty at the time, the Department of Natural Resources said. Lifeguards do not start their shifts until 11 a.m.
- 07/04/2020 – SLEEPING BEAR DUNES – SWIMMING TO SANDBAR – Corban Tyler Ferris, M-19 of Holt, MI. The teen was swimming with his family when he spotted a sandbar about 60 yards from shore. He managed to swim out and reach it, but the trip back proved more tenuous. Two family members went into the water to try and help him. They were unable to and he went under. U.S. Coast Guard officials pulled the teen from about 8 feet of water and couldn’t revive him with CPR.
- 07/05/2020 – ZION, IL – ILLINOIS BEACH STATE PARK – SWIMMING – NO LIFEGUARDS – John Doe, M-27, A man is dead after going under the water at a beach in north suburban Zion Sunday. First responders said good Samaritans were performing CPR on the 27-year-old when they arrived at the scene. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
- 07/06/2020 – EVANSTON, IL – SWIMMING – Marcos Quito, M-31, of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood on the West Side, was pulled from the water Monday at Clark Street Beach in the 1800 block of Sheridan Road near the Northwestern University campus. The beach was closed, and rangers were trying to get people out of the water with the help of police, when they noticed somebody was not swimming properly around 8:30 p.m.
- 07/06/20202 – GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, MI – SWIMMING – John Doe, M-47 of Kalkaska, was on his boat with his girlfriend around 3 p.m. on Monday when he noticed his jet ski was no longer tied to his boat. He decided to jump in the water to retrieve the vessel but slipped beneath the water out of view from his girlfriend, who called 911.
- 07/07/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – SWIMMING OFF BOAT – Ameera Muhammad , F-24, She went missing while swimming with family and friends off a boat in Lake Michigan. There were 12 to 16 people on the boat at the time of the incident. The swimmers were not wearing safety vests. Emergency officials said the incident could have been avoided if life preservers had been worn. “They were swimming about 40 to 50 feet off the break walls, and that’s when the winds kicked up and pushed that vessel into the wall,” Lach said.
- 07/09/2020 – GARY, IN – WADING ON SANDBAR / DROPOFF – Jarail C. Lee Jr, M-12, of Glenwood, IL at Marquette Park in Gary, IN. Eyewitnesses told WGN News they saw the family walking parallel to the beach about 15 feet offshore, in knee to waist deep water around 5:15 p.m. The witnesses said the family suddenly dropped off a sand bar and were in water over their heads. “The entire family began to struggle all together,” Tyler Brock, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said. “While they were struggling, one of the family members noticed a 12-year-old male was no longer at the surface.” This beach was open and lifeguards were on duty. There were no advisories for rough water. That family had only been here about a half-hour before the incident. Officials said they did not have life vests on. Officials stress beachgoers who cannot swim, even while wading in shallow water, should wear life vests given the uneven conditions on the lake floor.
- 07/12/2020 – SOUTH HAVEN, MI – RED FLAG, WAVES, SWIMMING – Jaedon Odunuga-Evans, M-20, of Lansing, MI; Crews responded to the North Beach around 9:20 p.m. Sunday. A friend who was with the man had reported him missing.
- 07/12/2020 – ST. JOSEPH, MI – LIONS PARK BEACH – SWIMMING – Danely Lopez, F-32, Two sisters, ages 29 and 32 from Illinois, were in the water when they went into deep water and struggled to get out. Several bystanders helped get them out of the water. Both women were taken to the hospital. The 29-year-old was treated and released. The 32-year-old woman was in critical condition and died 07/15/2020
- 07/16/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – SWIMMING – John Doe, M-25, Swimmer dies after going underwater for 40 minutes in Lake Michigan at Promontory Point in the 5500 block of South Lake Shore Drive.
- 07/19/2020 – GRAND HAVEN, MI – NO LIFEGUARDS – SWIMMING – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Johnny Arroyo, M-14, Submerged around 3:40 p.m. Sunday. Beachgoers formed a human chain leading out into the water in an attempt to assist in the efforts.
- 07/18/2020 – MILWAUKEE, WI – MCKINLEY BEACH – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – BYSTANDER WOULD-BE RESCUER – Jvaris Bankhead, M-19, around 8:40 p.m. three family members were wading in the water of McKinley Beach, two of whom were children. Due to the size of waves, the children were having a hard time getting to shore and the adult male in the water with them went farther in to help them get to shore. The adult male assisted one of the family members to shore before being swept under the water by large waves. The second child made it to shore safely. The Milwaukee Fire Department’s Dive Rescue Team as well as the Milwaukee Police Department arrived at the scene and assisted in the search for the adult male.
- 07/30/2020 – NEW BUFFALO, MI – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – LIFEGUARDS OFF DUTY – around 7:30 – John Doe, M-24, from Villa Ridge, Missouri, p.m. he disappeared near the break wall. New Buffalo Police Marine Division, US Coast Guard, Chikaming Township Fire Department Water Rescue Unit, New Buffalo Fire Departments, Berrien County Sheriff’s, Pokagon Tribal Police, and the Michiana Police Department. The USCG helicopter and the NBPD UAV were also used to do aerial searches for the missing subject.
- 07/30/2020 – ST. JOSEPH, MI – NO LIFEGUARDS –WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – around 8:08 p.m. – Brent Coursen, M-44, of Lakeview, IN, drowned attempting to save his children, ages 17 and 12 at Lions Park Beach
- 07/30/2020 – SAWYER, MI – NO LIFEGUARDS– WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – around 9 p.m. – Saralise T. Perry, F-13, of Otsego, MI, the girl disappeared in the waves at Warren Dunes State Park.
- 08/03/2020 – CHICAGO – DIVERSEY HARBOR – 4:00 P.M. – NO LIFEGUARDS – NO RESCUE EQUIPMENT ALONG LAKESHORE – – Patrick Tedeski, , M-15, Four boats in the water, one helicopter, one scuba team, searching the water. Chicago Fire Department divers are searching for a teen who apparently fell into Lake Michigan Monday afternoon. According to CFD officials, the man was reported to have fallen into the water in Diversey Harbor Monday afternoon. Divers are currently searching the lake, but there is no word on whether they have located the individual. Search efforts are being complicated by high waves and strong currents, as a lakeshore flood advisory has been issued for counties along Lake Michigan Monday afternoon. Coupled with record-high water levels, rescuers are having to battle the waves and conditions in their search.
- 08/04/2020 – SHEBOYGAN, WI – DELAND PARK – around 11:30 a.m. – John Doe, M-?, A kayaker capsized and submerged. He was recovered by rescue swimmers. CPR performed on shore. Transported to hospital where he was pronounced deceased. In addition to fire and police departments, the Coast Guard and Sheboygan County Dive Team responded to the incident.
- 08/08/2020 – MILWAUKEE, WI – MCKINLEY BEACH – WOULD BE RESCUER – DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Saturday, 6:30 p.m. – Jesse Brock, M-50, two 14-year-olds became caught in a current in the Lake Michigan waters sometime before 6:30 p.m. A 50-year-old man observed their struggles and entered the water to try to help. He was able to rescue one boy, who made it to shore. But the good Samaritan and the other boy submerged. The 14-year-old boy died Friday night. The 50-year-old man died Sunday morning. Milwaukee Fire Department divers entered the water with the assistance of an MFD rescue boat, a Milwaukee Police Department rescue boat, The Milwaukee County Sheriff as well as the U.S. Coast Guard to look for the two swimmers still missing.
- 08/08/2020 – MILWAUKEE, WI – MCKINLEY BEACH – SWIMMING – DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Saturday, 6:30 p.m. – Tony Bishop,, M-14, two teenage boys and one adult male were pulled from the water. The 14-year-old boy died Friday night. The 50-year-old man died Sunday morning. Milwaukee Fire Department divers entered the water with the assistance of an MFD rescue boat, a Milwaukee Police Department rescue boat, The Milwaukee County Sheriff as well as the U.S. Coast Guard to look for the two swimmers still missing.
- 08/08/2020 – WILMETTE, IL, GILLSON PARK, Saturday, shortly before 4 p.m., Ankit Zutski, M-31, a resident of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood died one day after he was recovered from Lake Michigan. Lifeguards and witnesses had pulled him from the lake and started performing CPR by the time paramedics arrived.
- 08/12/2020 – CHICAGO, IL, 59TH STREET HARBOR – Jane Doe, F-45, She died after falling off a boat just after midnight Wednesday. She slipped as she was climbing out of the boat.
- 08/14/2020 – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – SWIMMING – BYSTANDER RESCUE – Taylor Wilson, M-38 or 39 – Wilson was found face down in the water about 7 p.m. Friday between Stops 5 and 6, 600 Lakeshore Dr. He was pulled from the water by bystanders, CPR was started by bystanders. He was reportedly staying at beach rental house. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he later died.
- 08/16/2020 – PORTAGE, IN, PORTAGE LAKEFRONT & RIVERWALK, 11:00 A.M., SUNDAY – NO LIFEGUARDS – BYSTANDER RESCUE – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Mohammed Obied, M-16, of Bridgeview, IL – a group of five male teens from Illinois were swimming at the lakefront. The teen is missing and his body was recovered Monday morning.
- 08/16/2020 – PORTAGE, IN, PORTAGE LAKEFRONT & RIVERWALK, 11:00 A.M., SUNDAY –– NO LIFEGUARDS – BYSTANDER RESCUE – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Yousef Saleh, M-18, of Bridgeview, IL, a group of five male teens from Illinois were swimming at the lakefront around 11 a.m. Sunday. He was found floating in the water and was pulled from the water with assistance from a bystander on a wave runner. He was transported to Porter Regional Hospital in critical condition where he later died 08/18/2020.
- 08/16/2020 – PORTER, IN, PORTER BEACH, 3:00 P.M., SUNDAY – NO LIFEGUARDS – BYSTANDER RESCUE – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Moath Nagi, M-21, of Rockford, IL – The 21-year-old man, was transported to Porter Regional Hospital from Porter Beach on Sunday and died in the intensive care unit at 11:54 p.m. Moath Nagi is remembered by friends.
- 08/20/2020 – MACKINAC COUNTY, MI, SAND DUNES BEACH, 4 P.M. – BYSTANDER RESCUE – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Taylor McNamee, M-28 – A 28-year-old woman died, and a 13-year-old was rescued after the pair were seen far from shore in Lake Michigan on Thursday. The victims were swimming near Sand Dunes Beach near US-2 and the Dunes just west of Pointe Aux Chenes Road in the Upper Peninsula around 4 p.m. when they were spotted by onlookers who called 911. The 13-year-old was helped to shore by two bystanders.
- 08/23/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – JACKSON HARBOR – Brian Wiles, M-?, According to police, Wiles went missing from the group he was with at Jackson Harbor on Sunday. Search teams scanned the area around the harbor into the night. The Chicago Police Marine Unit found him in the water around 9 p.m. Wiles was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center but was pronounced dead.
- 08/25/2020 – FRANKFORT, MI – SWIMMING – Igor Burlak, M-26, of Amelia, Ohio tragically drowned in Lake Michigan while on vacation with his family in Frankfort, Michigan. He was found unconscious in the water and was apparently underwater for more than 20 minutes. His parents and sister, along with police, rushed him to the Munson Medical Center hospital and found a small pulse. That same night, at the hospital, he had two cardiac arrests, as well as 6 to 7 heart attacks. He was on a ventilator to keep pumping oxygen into his lungs, but the doctors say he is already brain dead after losing oxygen for so long. Short media mention of drowning incident on 08/30/2020 incident. GoFundMe Page for funeral and burial expenses.
- 08/25/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – MONROE HARBOR, 4:25 P.M. – Carlton Hughes, M-41, Divers on Tuesday afternoon recovered the body of a person who drowned at Monroe Harbor in Lake Michigan. The person went underwater in the harbor and did not come back up. he was pulled from Monroe Harbor Tuesday near the Museum Campus, 700 block of South Lake Shore Drive. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
- 08/30/2020 – CHICAGO, IL, MONROE HARBOR, 6:05 P.M. – SWIMMING OFF BOAT – Clarence “CJ” Weaver, M-32 – He and his friends rented a pontoon boat Sunday. “He was swimming out and got carried away by the water.” Divers search for the body of man who fell into Monroe Harbor – The 32-year-old fell off a boat about 6:05 p.m. into the harbor in the 400 block of East Monroe Street and never resurfaced.
- 08/30/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – MONROE HARBOR – SWIMMING OFF BOAT – Clarence “CJ” Weaver M-32, He and his friends rented a pontoon boat Sunday. “He was swimming out and got carried away by the water.”
- 09/06/2020 – SOUTH HAVEN, MICHIGAN – SOUTH BEACH, 4:30 P.M. – NO LIFEGUARDS – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – SWIMMING – Brandon Chambers, M-18, South Haven Area Emergency Services responded to the city’s South Beach around 4:30 p.m. on a report of two men in distress at a buoy in the swimming area. Responders noticed a teen clinging to the buoy about 100 yards away from shore. A SHAES responder and South Haven Police officer reached the teen who said his friend tried swimming back to shore but went under the water and did not resurface
- 09/06/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – JUMPED OFF BOAT – John Doe, M-52, According to Chicago police, around 10:00 p.m. the man was on a boat in the harbor in the 9800-block of S Avenue G at Calumet Park Beach when he was in a verbal altercation with another individual on the boat and threatened to jump in the water. The 52-year-old man then jumped and disappeared into the water while the boat returned to a harbor in Indiana to report the incident to police, CPD said.
- 09/07/2020 – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – WASHINGTON PARK, 2 p.m.- WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – NO LIFEGUARDS – Jane Doe, F-16, of New Haven, IN – The teenager was reported missing in the water while swimming with family near the Michigan City lighthouse pier. The girl’s body was recovered by members of the Michigan City Fire Department about 50 minutes later.
- 09/08/2020 – Jane Doe, F-?, A female body washed ashore at Evanston’s Dempster Beach, 1251 Lake Shore Boulevard
- 09/10/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – OAK STREET BEACH, 1:40 A.M. – Peter Lekas, M-20, of Albany Park – According to police, around 1:40 a.m. the 20-year-old was walking with two friends in the 1000 block of North Lake Shore Drive when he decided to jump in the water. Chicago Police Marine Unit officers were able to rescover the man from the water. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition but died hours later.
- 09/11/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – NEAR 87th STREET, 1:50 p.m. – Jane Doe, F-20’s. A Fire Department helicopter deployed two divers into the water, and the divers brought her to shore, where other firefighters and Chicago Police Department Marine Unit officers helped pull her from the water. She was taken to Trinity Hospital in critical condition and cardiac arrest.
- 09/13/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – 39TH STREET BEACH – Body Recovered From Water At 39th Street Beach
- 09/13/2020– BRIDGMAN, MI – WEKO BEACH – SWIMMING – 1:12 P.M., Jane Doe, F-14, the girl was unresponsive after being pulled out by a bystander and another bystander began C.P.R. Officers continued administering C.P.R. until she was transported to Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph by Medic-1 ambulance. The girl was then air-lifted to Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids where she died. Both girls are from Illinois.
- 09/20/2020– FRANKFORT, MI – PIER WASHOFF – “DREAM FAMILY VACATION = TRAGEDY” – Lane Frame, M-12, of Manchester, Tennessee was found next to the Frankfort Pier in about 10 feet of water around 10 a.m. Wednesday. The boy fell in the water while members of the family from Tennessee were walking on the pier as part of a “dream vacation” involving at least 13 people. Two children age 11 and 12 ventured out on to the pier with their 50-year-old aunt. At one point a large wave swept all three into the inner waters of the pier. The aunt was able to retrieve the youngest child and they both climbed out, but Frame was swept out further into the lake and disappeared under the water.
- 09/21/2020– CHICAGO, IL – MONROE HARBOR, 9:15 p.m. – John Doe M-24 – Man, 24, dies after jumping into Lake Michigan at Monroe Harbor
- 09/22/2020 – RACINE, WI – Casey Shaw, M-18. On Sept. 22 the teenager’s vehicle was found parked near the corner of Augusta Street and Michigan Boulevard, above Zoo Beach. On Friday, Oct. 2, someone walking their dog near Zoo Beach reported seeing a body from the shoreline. The investigation is still considered ongoing. An autopsy is scheduled to be completed by Monday in Milwaukee County
- 11/01/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – BODY RECOVERED AT OAKWOOD BEACH ON 11/21/2020 – Devane Gross, F-22, of Riverdale, Gross was last seen in-person leaving her stepmother’s Austin home after spending Halloween with family a few blocks away. The next day, relatives say Gross last answered a call from her mom around 8 a.m. when she failed to return to her Riverdale home. “She answered. She said, ‘Oh mom, I’m at the lakefront. I’m just clearing my head.’ But she also got a call from her stepsister who could actually see she was there at the lake,” Gross’ aunt Krista. Her phone also last pinged near the Shedd Aquarium, according to family. Chicago police say there is no sign of foul play.
- 11/14/2020 – CHICAGO, IL – 2300 BLOCK OF S. LAKE SHORE DRIVE, 1 P.M. – FELL INTO LAKE – John Doe, ?-?, A person fell into Lake Michigan at 2300 block of South Lake Shore Drive shortly after 1 p.m. The victim was rescued and transported to Northwestern Hospital in critical condition. The news later reported that he died.
- 11/15/2020 – MUSKEGON, MI, PERE MARQUETTE PIER – WASHOFF – 10:12 p.m., Sunday – Lance Jenkins, M-29, of Fruitport Township — A Muskegon area man is missing in Lake Michigan after going into the water from the Pere Marquette pier Sunday night. Two men who said they had been on the pier with a third man when strong winds and large waves swept them into the water. The first two men got themselves out of the lake and called 911. Police say the third man, who has been identified as 29-year-old Lance Jenkins of Fruitport Township, was located clinging to rocks on the north side of the south breakwall. Firefighters worked off the pier and by boat while attempting to rescue Jenkins, but police say weather and lake conditions prevented rescue. At the time, winds were gusting over 50 miles per hour and waves were between eight and 12 feet. After several hours of rescue attempts and searching, the rescue was called off Sunday evening due to worsening conditions. BODY RECOVERED on 11/17/2020
- 11/19/2020 – CHICAGO, IL, 57th STREET BEACH – DeNae Nash, F-21, of Waterlooa, IA, The former standout basketball player at East High School, was visiting a friend in Chicago when she somehow ended up in the water. Nash died Tuesday, 11/24/2020, at University of Chicago Medical Center after she was removed from life support, according to her obituary and social media posts from family.
+4 UNKNOWN OR CRITICAL CONDITION
- 07/06/2020 – CHICAGO – SWIMMING – CRITICAL CONDITION – John Doe, M-24, was pulled from the water at the 500 block of South Lake Shore Drive near Buckingham Fountain.
- 07/27/2020 – CHICAGO, IL, DIVERSEY HARBOR – SLIPPED AND FELL IN – John Doe, M-28, A man fell into Lake Michigan on Sunday night near Diversey Harbor after hitting his head on concrete revetment steps. He was last listed in critical condition.
- 08/16/2020 – 1 SERIOUS CONDITION – HOLLAND, MI, HOLLAND STATE PARK, AFTER 6:15 P.M., SUNDAY –– NO LIFEGUARDS – BYSTANDER RESCUE – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – John Doe, M-32, of Kentwood, MI – People on personal watercraft were able to pull him to the north pier, where bystanders pulled him out of the water and began CPR. He was not breathing and did not seem to have a pulse. As the Holland First Responders arrived on scene, the man had been revived, but was still having breathing trouble. He was rushed to Holland Hospital in serious condition, though he was able to answer questions
- 08/29/2020 – UNKNOWN CONDITION – SOUTH HAVEN, MI – PIER WASHOFF – WOULD BE RESCUER – John Doe, M-? – The incident started when a woman was swept off the South Beach pier. While the woman was able to make it to safety, Hinz said the man was unable to get out of the water. A SHAES responder, along with a number of good Samaritans, found the man and brought him to shore. Witnesses said the man appeared extremely weak as the SHAES responder carried him out of the water. “The body was motionless and lifeless,” witness Sokol Boja said. “He looked very white from a distance.” Crews eventually helicoptered the victim to a Kalamazoo area hospital.
LAKE SUPERIOR = 2
- 06/03/2020 – John Doe, M-6, A juvenile male has drowned in Lake Superior near the mouth of the Middle River in the Town of Lakeside. He was swimming with his mom and another sibling when he submerged. A 9-year-old girl was pulled from the water by rescuers and revived, according to the Superior Telegram.
- 08/11/2020 – SCHOOLCRAFT TOWNSHIP – BIG TRAVERSE BEACH NEAR RICE LAKE – OUTLET CURRENT – BYSTANDER RESCUER – Noah Grow, M-12 – An eight-year-old girl was swept out by the current at the mouth of the slough (at the mouth of the Traverse River) and three others attempted to save her. They were also taken out by the current. Several people on the beach assisted with inflatable tubes and were able to get all four people to shore. When a deputy arrived at the scene, first responders were already conducting CPR on the girl’s 12-year-old brother. He was air lifted to the University of Michigan Children’s Hospital in critical condition where he later died.
LAKE HURON = 11
- 07/08/2020 – FORT GRATIOT TWP, MI – SWIMMING – Robert Esquibel, M-52, of Burtchville Township was swimming off Lakeport State Park with a friend in the lake when his friend noticed he hadn’t resurfaced after going underwater. The friend called for help and swam to shore to have someone call 911 shortly before 4:45 p.m.
- 08/01/2020 – LONDON, ONT. – OFFSHORE WINDS – SWIMMING – John Doe, M-?, just before 12 p.m., a man went under the water and didn’t resurface after swimming to retrieve an object floating in the offshore winds. Lifeguards and bystanders managed to get to him and pulled him out, but he succumbed to his injuries.
- 08/09/2020 – DUNCAN BAY – BOATING/TUBING – NO LIFEJACKET – Sunday around 7:15 p.m., Kyzer Grant, M-5, The sheriff’s office says the 5-year-old boy was being pulled on a tube by a boat and was not wearing a life jacket. The 5-year-old was found in about 10 feet of water, and they believe he had been in the water for about 5 minutes.
- 08/22/2020 – SOUTH HURON – 6 P.M. – SWIMMING – Kane Rodricks, M-29, of Mississauga. He had been swimming with friends and family when he went underwater. He was found unconscious and pulled to shore where efforts to resuscitate were unsuccessful. Huron and Lambton OPP and local emergency crews were called to an address shortly before 6 p.m. on Bluewater Highway in South Huron, north of London.
- 08/27/2020 – LAMBTON COUNTY, ONT. 7:00 P.M. – BYSTANDER RESCUE – Feona Bramwell, F-43, of Brampton, Ont.— a call about a potential drowning at Port Franks Beach, outside London, Ont., with reports that two individuals had disappeared in the water while swimming. Abystander saved one of the two swimmers, while Bramwell could not be located by emergency services until this morning.
- 08/29/2020– MANITOULIN ISLAND, CARTER BAY BEACH IN CARARVON TOWNSHIP 2:55 p.m. – Damon Clarke, M-48, from Collingwood. “Investigation revealed the person was swimming with two children. Undertow began to pull them further from shore. The individual was trying to push the children closer to shore and he was subsequently pulled under water.”
- 09/03/2020 – KINCARDINE PIER, 8 P.M. – WOULD-BE RESCUER – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Aleem Ramj, M-38, of Toronto. He jumped into choppy waters trying to rescue two teens who had been swept off the pier.
- 09/04/2020 – TORONTO – SAUBLE BEACH, ONT. – Troy Cupid, M-20, of Toronto died after he was pulled from the water at Sauble Beach, Ont. on Friday night. The man had no vital signs when he was removed from the water.
- 09/13/2020 – LONDON, ONT. – SAUGEEN FIRST NATION – SECOND AVENUE SOUTH NORTH OF FRENCH BAY ROAD, 4 P.M. – Kevin Costin, M-29, of Wellington North – The body of a man who went missing in Lake Huron at Saugeen First Nation was pulled from the water on Tuesday, the third day of searching. Police were initially contacted Sunday afternoon after a witness reported a man struggling in the waves.
- 10/31/2020– SARNIA, ONTARIO, CANADA – FELL FROM BOAT – Christopher DeGroot, M-31, of Sarnia, fell from a vessel near the mouth of the St. Clair River and failed to resurface. His BODY RECOVERED 11/03/2020 – The OPP aviation service and marine unit, Sarnia police, the Point Edward fire department, Lambton paramedics, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, U.S. Coast Guard and the St. Clair County, Mich., sheriff’s dive team also helped with the search.
- 11/27/2020 – GEORGIAN BAY, North Shore off of Wikwemikong First Nation – Donald Maiagowi, M-47, from Wikwemikong First Nation — two persons were heading out to go fishing when both fell overboard into the water and started swimming to shore. Only one made it to shore. Donald Maiagowi, age 47 from Wikwemikong First Nation was transported to hospital via Ornge Air Ambulance where he was pronounced deceased.
LAKE ERIE = 19
- 02/16/2020 – PORT DOVER, Ont. – Alex Ottley, M-9, in the area of Peacock Point, 4:35 p.m. The police say two boys — an eight-year-old and nine-year-old — were on the ice edge when a wave swept them into the water. A 10-year-old girl with the boys ran to get help. She flagged down a vehicle and a man and a woman were able to rescue the eight-year-old boy, but police say the other boy did not resurface. His loved ones are asking that instead of donations, families instead talk to their young children about water safety. His body was recovered on 03/24/2020.
- 03/23/2020 – LONG POINT, ONT. – FISHING – Michael Smith, M-50, Ontario Provincial Police say they have recovered the body on Friday of fisherman Michael Smith who fell off a commercial boat and into Lake Erie on Monday.
- 05/30/2020 – BUFFALO, N.Y. – John Doe, M-?, a body was pulled from Lake Erie Saturday afternoon near Gull Landing, across from the Erie Basin Marina.
- 06/03/2020 – FAIRPORT HARBOR – FISHING – Kelly Carver, M-42, A partially submerged vessel was found on Thursday at around 11 a.m. near Fairport Harbor in Lake County on Lake Erie. Multiple Coast Guard boat crews from the Ashtabula station, a helicopter from Air Station Detroit and a helicopter crew from Canada searched for the Carvers.
- 06/03/2020 – FAIRPORT HARBOR – FISHING – Logan Carver, M-13, A partially submerged vessel was found on Thursday at around 11 a.m. near Fairport Harbor in Lake County on Lake Erie. Multiple Coast Guard boat crews from the Ashtabula station, a helicopter from Air Station Detroit and a helicopter crew from Canada searched for the Carvers.
- 06/13/2020 – BROWNSTOWN, MI – Tyler Szabo M-22, of Flat Rock. Went missing after kayaking in Lake Erie. Szabo set out with his kayak at about 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Pointe Mouillee State Game Area in Brownstown Township. His kayak was found washed up in Monroe County at Banana Dyke, but there’s still no sign of Szabo.
- 07/04/2020 – SANDUSKY, OH – SWIMMING FROM BOAT – Larry Facemire III, M-29 — a group anchored their boat near Cedar Point hoping to swim to shore, but the waves became too strong. A Good Samaritan pulled Facemire from the water. He was unconscious but alive when rescue crews were on scene, and he was immediately transported to a local hospital. Officials did not specify his exact condition. Facemire’s father contacted the GLSRP on 07/24/2020 and stated that Larry Facemire III died on 07/05/2020.
- 07/12/2020 – WINDSOR, ONT – WADING ON SANDBAR – Santos Cuc Diaz, M-28, around 4 p.m. in the waters of Lake Erie near Wheatley Provincial Park. He was wading around on a sand bar at the extreme western edge of the park and slipped under the water. He was a migrant farm worker.
- 07/26/2020 – FORT ERIE – OFF CRYSTAL BEACH – BOATING – John Doe, M-85, A grandfather has drowned after the boat he was in capsized on Lake Erie off Crystal Beach Sunday. His teenage grandson was able to swim to shore.
- 07/27/2020 – Ditfleche Geneau, M-67, of Brantford, Ont., was recovered at Pottahawk Point, Norfolk County.
- 08/27/2020 – HARWICH TOWNSHIP, RONDEAU PROVINCIAL PARK – BYSTANDER RESCUE – BYSTANDER CPR – Heather Connon, F-48, At 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, police were called to Lakeshore Road in Harwich Township with reports that a woman had fallen off an inflatable raft in Lake Erie and failed to re-surface. People on shore swam into the water to rescue the woman, who was unconscious when she was removed from the water. Locals performed CPR, which was then continued by emergency responders. The woman was then brought to hospital in critical where she later died.
- 08/27/2020 – PORT COLBORNE, SHERKSTON BEACH, 1:30 P.M. – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – BYSTANDER RESCUERS – Douglas Gómez Jr., M-33, from Waterloo Ontario is presumed to have drowned. He was one of two adult males and four children under 13 years old distressed in the 5-6 foot waves. Bystanders were able to rescue one of the adult male and the children. His body was recovered on 08/30/2020.
- 09/17/2020– PORT GLASGOW – SAILING – NO LIFE JACKET – Reginald Fisher, M-77, of Elgin County – Monday, authorities gave up a three-day search. “We’re no longer out on the water searching,” OPP Const. Troy Carlson said Monday. “It’s been decided the actual physical search is now concluded at this time, although the investigation is still ongoing. Fisher was last seen Thursday afternoon leaving the marina in Port Glasgow, southwest of his Dutton home, on a 14-foot sailboat. Friday, marina staff called police to say he hadn’t returned. The boat was found Friday evening, more than 24 hours after Fisher was seen setting off. Fisher was boating by himself about once a week since mid-June. “It looked like he was trying to learn,” Navackas said. “He would practice. Up until two weeks ago, we hadn’t seen him actually get out of the marina.” She said she never saw him wearing a life-jacket, and multiple people had reminded him to do so. The conditions Thursday, when Fisher set sail, were not good, Navackas said, adding most of the larger boats were not going out on Erie. BODY RECOVERED – 10/15/2020 – Provincial police have identified a body that washed up on shore in the Port Burwell area as that of missing sailor Reginald Fisher.
- 09/17/2020 – CLEVELAND, OH – William Kohler, M-57, Kohler was pulled from Lake Erie in the 17800 block of Canterbury Road on Tuesday, five days after he was reported missing. Police said he was last seen by his caretaker on Sept. 17 in the 3500 block of Trent Avenue and hasn’t been heard from since then.
- 09/29/2020 – CLEVELAND, OH – 2:40 p.m. off the shores of the lake near Canterbury Lane in the city’s North Shore-Collinwood neighborhood – John Doe, M-?, A man drowned Tuesday in Lake Erie. Cleveland firefighters used a rope to help recover the man’s body from the lake, Cleveland Fire Department spokesman Mike Norman said. The man has not yet been identified. The circumstances surrounding his drowning is unknown and Cleveland police have not released additional information.
- 10/14/2020– ERIE COUNTY – Jeremiah Mitchell, M-27 – Mitchell’s body was pulled from Presque Isle Bay on Saturday night after a fisherman reported seeing a body floating near Don Jon Ship Building.
- 10/07/2020 – John Doe Body of missing Port Bruce man recovered – LONDON, ONT. – After an extensive search Elgin OPP say they recovered the remains of a missing Port Bruce man late Wednesday. A search for 62-year-old Michael Renton was done in air and on water. He was first reported missing Wednesday morning. His remains were located by an OPP helicopter at the base of a cliff along the Lake Erie shoreline just east of Port Bruce. The location required a high angle recovery by the OPP emergency response team and the Malahide fire services. Police say they don’t suspect foul play. [Did he fall to death? Or Drowning?] https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/10/14/body-of-missing-man-found.html
- 10/14/2020 – ERIE COUNTY – Jeremiah Mitchell, M-27 – Mitchell’s body was pulled from Presque Isle Bay on Saturday night after a fisherman reported seeing a body floating near Don Jon Ship Building.
- 11/27/2020 – PRESQUE ISLE BAY – Jorge Torres, M-71, of Erie – Torres’s family had reported him missing on Friday night. His body was found floating in Presque Isle Bay on Saturday afternoon.
LAKE ONTARIO = 21 (+1 Unknown Condition +1 Missing)
- 06/12/2020 – BURLOAK WATERFRONT PARK –John Doe, M-?, A body was recovered from Lake Ontario at Burloak Waterfront Park, in the area of Lakeshore and Hampton Heath roads.
- 06/13/2020 – POINT BREEZE – John Doe, M-?, A body was discovered early Saturday morning, after washing ashore on Lake Ontario in the hamlet of Point Breeze, around 5:30 a.m.
- 06/21/2020 – TORONTO – John Doe, M-19, The man was having trouble staying afloat and he called to his friends for help. While his friends were trying to reach him, the man disappeared under the water, and they couldn’t find him. The incident happened near The Beach neighborhood near Hubbard Boulevard and Maclean Avenue.
- 06/27/2020 – KINGSTON – Jaykumar Shaileshbhai Bhikhabhai Patel, M-20, of Kingston was reported missing on June 27, 2020. Police located his body in Lake Ontario on Wednesday, July 1, at Battery Park in Kingston. Jaykumar was last seen by family on Friday, Jun. 26, 2020 around 6:30 p.m. on Daly Street. Police have reason to believe Jaykumar may later have been in the area of the Wolfe Island Ferry ramp.
- 7/02/2020 – SODUS BAY – WOULD-BE RESCUER – Draven Starr-Howell attempted to save the three swimmers in Sodus Bay on Thursday has died. Deputies reported that the 20-year-old was overtaken by waves in the bay.
- 07/09/2020 – IRONDEQUOIT, NY – SWIMMING – John Doe, M-63, Three men were on a 40-foot boat about three miles northwest of the Irondequoit Bay outlet, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies. A 63-year-old man jumped in to swim, but began struggling. The others threw him a lifering but he went under before he could get it.
- 07/12/2020 – John Doe, Rescue crews recover body from Lake Ontario near Bluffer’s Park
- 07/17/2020 – HENDERSON, NY – SOUTHWICK BEACH STATE PARK – SWIMMING – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Miguel Harvey, M-49, was with his wife and kids Friday evening when they went to the state park to play on the beach. When most of the family started heading back to camp, Mr. Harvey, a Marine veteran who was on a dive team when he was younger, went farther out. “He was in an area where he was fine and then he just swam out farther,” said one relative, who decided not to give his name. “I don’t know if he just wanted to see how it was. I don’t know.” Bystanders started noticing the moments when it was clear Mr. Harvey had gone too far out.A bystander swam out to him but he couldn’t “get him up.
- 07/17/2020 – TORONTO, ON – HANLAN’S POINT BEACH – Tahir Kahn, M-30’s, was pulled from the water around 7 p.m. Emergency crews performed CPR and the man was unconscious and “unresponsive.” The man was then transported to hospital in life-threatening condition.
- 07/25/2020 – TORONTO – SWIMMING – John Doe, M-?, The body of a missing man has been located in Lake Ontario near Toronto Islands, Toronto Police said. The man was last seen at 9 p.m. on . Police say he may have gone swimming at the time. The body was found just after 8:15 a.m. on July 26 by Toronto Police’s marine unit.
- 07/26/2020 – SWIMMING AROUND 1 P.M. -– BYSTANDER RESCUES – North Beach Provincial Park, Alex Aloysius M-63, of Oshawa, Ont.
- 07/26/2020 – SWIMMING AROUND 6 P.M. – BYSTANDER RESCUES – North Beach Provincial Park – Muhammad Azmat, M-25, of Mississauga, Ont.
- 08/15/2020 – TORONTO, BLUFFER’S PARK, 7:30 P.M. – WAVES & DANGEROUS CURRENTS – Pavan Kristipati, Doe, M-29 A man who was pulled from the waters near Bluffer’s Park has died, and the search for his brother who went missing in Lake Ontario has turned into a recovery mission.
- 08/15/2020 – TORONTO, BLUFFER’S PARK – BODY RECOVERED – Kamal Kristipati, M-23, Toronto police had been searching for a 23-year-old man who was struggling to stay above water at the Scarborough park on Saturday, 08/15/2020. On Monday, Marine Unit officers reported that a body had been found but could not confirm if it was the body of the missing man. The man had been in the lake with his brother, who was pronounced dead in the hospital overnight after succumbing to his injuries.
- 08/15/2020 – TORONTO, BLUFFER’S PARK, 5:15 P.M. – John Doe, M-?, A deceased male was discovered floating more than 60 feet from the shoreline, police said. No lifesaving efforts were made, police said, as the body was already in a state of decomposition. Police said the incident is being treated as suspicious until a post-mortem has concluded
- 08/27/2020 – PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, ONT, BEACH PROVINCIAL PARK, 4:15 P.M. – Oussama Righi, M-32, from Montreal, a family was swimming at North Beach Provincial Park on County Road 27 in Prince Edward County. They say one member of the family failed to surface and was eventually pulled from the water, at which point first responders administered CPR. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
- 09/03/2020 – HAMILTON, VAN WAGNERS BEACH, 7 P.M. – John Doe, M-21, a man went into the water and didn’t resurface near Van Wagners beach in Hamilton. He was removed from the water just before 7:50 p.m. where paramedics began resuscitation efforts. The man was taken to the hospital without vital signs where he later died.
- 10/06/2020– OAKVILLE CLUB MARIANA – SAILING – Eric Quimby, M-65 – Quimby is believed to have left the Oakville Club Marina at approximately 10:40 a.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 6 for a short sail west towards Stoney Creek. Halton police said they were contacted Tuesday evening when Quimby did not return. Around 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Oct. 7 Halton police announced that Quimby’s 30-foot sailboat had been discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard about 3 km off the shore of Rochester, New York. Quimby himself, however, was not aboard the vessel.
- 11/14/2020 – John Doe, M-?, Halton police are investigating following the discovery of a body in Lake Ontario, just a short distance from the Oakville shore, on Saturday Nov. 14. Police said the body of an adult male was discovered in the water between Lakeside Park and Tannery Park at around 9:20 a.m., by the Town of Oakville Air Rescue Force (TOWARF) during a routine boat patrol. “On Saturday returning to Oakville Harbour minutes before shutting down for the season, the crew observed a person in the water, recovered him, commenced CPR and called 911,” tweeted TOWARF Marine Rescue on Nov. 16. Police Media Officer Const. Ryan Anderson said the deceased man has been identified, however, that identify is not being released. “Police are conducting an investigation into the death, however, no additional information is available at this time,” said Anderson. The media officer did say the individual is not Eric Quimby, a 65-year-old Oakville boater who went missing Oct. 6 during a sailing trip to Stoney Creek.
- 11/15/2020 – TORONTO, CHERRY BEACH, 3 p.m. – Jason ‘Ghostrider’ Maloney, M-56, One man has been taken to hospital in life-threatening condition after being pulled from the water near Cherry Beach. Police reported a group of five to six kite boarders were on Lake Ontario in the area of Cherry Street and Martin Goodman Trail when they received calls about a person in distress shortly after 3 p.m. When police arrived, one man had been pulled from the water by another individual who was already on the scene and officers performed life-saving measures until paramedics were able to transport the man to hospital. The conditions on the lake at the time were treacherous due to a wind and rain storm that was sweeping across the region.
- 11/16/2020 – OSHAWA, TORONTO, 1:25 P.M. – Jane Doe, F-?, was taken out of the water near Birchcliffe Avenue without vital signs and was taken to hospital with the assistance of Oshawa Fire and Durham Paramedic Services. In a tweet published just after 2:30 p.m., police said she was pronounced dead in hospital.
+1 UNKNOWN CONDITION +1 MISSING
- 06/26/2020 – NEAR WHITBY – MISSING SAILOR – John Doe, ?-?, Sailboat found adrift. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre has ended a search for a missing sailor on Lake Ontario. The 424 Squadron search and rescue technicians and aircraft were involved in the search near Whitby after a sailboat was found adrift Thursday morning. Crews searched over 3,000 square kms and spent 90 hours searching from the air and water. The case is now being turned over to police as a missing person case. Three aircraft from RCAF and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Niagara, eight vessels from the Canadian Coast Guard and the Toronto Police Service were involved in the search.
97 Great Lakes Drownings in 2019;
48 of those in Lake Michigan
838 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010
(As of 12/31/2019)
GREAT LAKES, USA – In 2019 the GLSRP tracked 97 Great Lakes drownings. Full statistics here. (Note: * = (+/-) Awaiting 100% confirmation of drowning.) In addition to the confirmed drownings, there are an additional 5 drowning incidents where the victims were last listed as “Critical Condition,” “Unknown Condition,” or “Missing”. The GLSRP is awaiting updates on these incidences.
OVERVIEW OF GREAT LAKES DROWNINGS 01/01/2010 – 12/31/2019
74 drownings in 2010
88 in 2011
99 in 2012
67 in 2013
54 in 2014
55 in 2015
99 in 2016
88 in 2017
117 in 2018
97 to date in 2019
838 since 2010
2019 = 97
Lake Michigan = 48
Lake Superior = 5
Lake Huron = 8
Lake Erie = 28
Lake Ontario = 8
LAKE MICHIGAN =48
- 01/11/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Christopher Guadarrama, 25, missing since Jan. 11 – The decomposed body recently pulled from Lake Michigan, near Grant Park in Chicago, on March 17 has been identified as a mentally disabled Maywood man who had been missing since Jan. 11. Family and friends of Christopher Guadarrama, 25, had been searching for him since he was last seen at his home on the 600 block of N. 5th Ave. in Maywood two months ago. During an interview in January, Maria Guadarrama, Christopher’s sister, said that he had left his Maywood home “without his backpack, cell phone or his medication, which he always has with him whenever he goes, anywhere.” Guadarrama had schizophrenia, she said
- 01/18/2019 – WAUKEGAN, IL – Matthew “Mateo” Garcia, M-16, Three teens were on the pier. One fell in. One jumped in to attempt a rescue. One called 911. According to the Waukegan Fire Department, two people were on the pier around 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon when one of the individuals fell into the water. The other person then jumped into the lake in a rescue attempt and submerged, and another person called 911 to alert authorities to the situation. Mateo Garcia was a Grayslake North High School His body recovered April 11, 2019
- 02/11/2019 – PORTER, IN – Scott Tharp, 59, of the Gary area, was last seen on Feb. 11, according to a Tuesday release from Porter County Coroner Cyndi Dykes. Preliminary findings show Tharp died of accidental drowning, pending toxicology results. A fisherman found Tharp’s body Friday night in a public fishing area at the Port of Indiana, Dykes said. A U.S. Coast Guard crew near the port recovered his body at 8:51 p.m.
- 02/11/2019 – DOOR COUNTY, WI – Eric Richter, 57, His body was found in Lake Michigan at Cave Point County Park on 03/20/2019. Richter told his wife he was going to stop at the park to take some photos on his way home from Jacksonport. His vehicle was found at the park later that night. The sheriff’s office said waves were 7 to 8 feet high and the shoreline was icy and slippery, and they feared he was swept into the water.
- 02/14/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Jonathan Rice, M-30, last seen on security camera driving into parking garage at Navy Pier. Body found in water near Navy Pier. No foul play suspected.
- 03/11/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Alan Emery, 59, was found about 5:50 p.m. on March 11 near the shoreline in the 7500 block of South South Shore Drive. Emery lived in Wrightwood on the South Side, the medical examiner’s office said. An autopsy has not ruled on the cause and manner of his death pending further investigation. Area South detectives are conducting a death investigation.
- 03/17/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – John Doe, M-?, Body Pulled From Lake Michigan Near Grant Park, 500 block of south Lake Shore Drive. The body “appears to be in advanced stage of decomposition” and has been taken to the medical examiner. This incident is under investigation.
- 04/25/2019 – CHICAGO – Jane Doe, F-60s, A woman died after she was pulled from Lake Michigan Thursday near Lincoln Park on the North Side near Fullerton Avenue Beach in the 2100 block of North Lake Shore Drive.
- 04/29/2019 – John Doe*, M-18, the man was last seen on Monday, April 29. He was reported missing by a parent. On Thursday, May 5, Police say they found the man dead along the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Sheridan Park. The circumstances surrounding the death are still under investigation. An autopsy is pending. Grief counselors were at Cudahy High School Friday following the death of an 18-year-old senior.
- 05/18/2019 – PORTER, IN – Jacob Sandy, M-23, was last seen kayaking from Porter Beach. His body was discovered on 05/29 by an Indiana Dunes National Park employee around 7:15 a.m. about a quarter-mile east of Porter Beach on the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
- 06/25/2019 – CHICAGO – Amiyah Walker, F-5, has died days after she was rescued from Lake Michigan last week at Rainbow Beach Park. Amiyah Walker was found unresponsive in the water about 8:40 p.m. June 25 in the 3100 block of East 77th Street, Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.
- 06/25/2019 – CHICAGO – ROGERS PARK – Croslene Kettle, M-64, Fishing — A 64-year-old man drowned in Lake Michigan just off of Pratt Pier in Rogers Park Tuesday morning, Chicago Police officials said. The man was fishing off of the pier when he decided to go for a swim and never resurfaced, police said. Officials have not yet confirmed the man’s identity. Kettle was discovered unresponsive about 8:42 a.m. in the water at Tobey Prinz Beach in the 1000 block of West Pratt Boulevard, He had gone swimming, and witnesses pulled him from the lake.
- 06/28/2019 – MILWAUKEE, WI – SCUBA DIVING – Susan Winn, F-53, of Kildeer, Illinois – diving incident on Lake Michigan.
- 06/28/2019 – MILWAUKEE, WI – SCUBA DIVING – James Winn, M-53, of Kildeer, Illinois – diving incident on Lake Michigan.
- 07/02/2019 – CHICAGO – ROGERS PARK – John Doe, M-56, A man was pronounced dead after lifeguards pulled him to shore about 1:15 p.m. after they spotted him in the water and unresponsive near the 7700 block of North Eastlake Terrace in Rogers Beach Park. Swimming is banned at the beach because of high water levels, and it is not listed among beaches with regular lifeguard service on the Park District’s website. Nearby Juneway Beach, just to the north of Rogers Beach, also is closed because of high water levels.
- 07/06/2019 – MICHIGAN CITY, IN, Washington Park Beach – Raheem Mason, M-17, of South Bend, IN – The incident occurred after normal swimming hours [Lifeguards off duty] and the water had been closed throughout the day due to dangerous waves and currents. Body recovered 07/11/2019.
- 07/11/2019 – CHICAGO – Jessica Ceja*, F-27, boat crash near Belmont Harbor, the 2200 block of North Lake Shore Drive. She was not wearing a life jacket. She was found underwater and unresponsive more than 500 yards away from the boat on the other side of the break wall.
- 07/13/2019 – SOUTH HAVEN, MI – Theron Brooker-Nolan, M-13, of Ann Arbor, MI, Approximately 12:27 p.m., He was swimming, Yellow Flag, drowned off of South Haven’s South Beach. Witnesses reported individuals had been swimming and began to drift further away from shore and became exhausted, not able to swim back. A person on a paddleboard was able to rescue an adult, but that one child was still in the water. Air support from the US Coast Guard, the dive team from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department, and the SHAES rescue boat.
- 07/13/2019 – HAMMOND, IN – Harold Daniels, M-59, around 11:45 p.m. fell into Lake Michigan along the boat docks at Hammond Marina and didn’t resurface. Members with Hammond Fire and the Lake County Marine Unit recovered Daniels. Other agencies that assisted include Hammond Police, the Lake County coroner’s office and the U.S. Coast Guard.
- 07/14/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Mykhailo Porfirian, M-70, suffered cardiac arrest while swimming in the lake in the 1500 block of Lake Shore Drive. He was taken to Northwestern Hospital in Critical Condition. He died 07/23/2019. An autopsy Thursday determined the cause of his death was complications of drowning, and his death was ruled an accident, the medical examiner said.
- 07/18/2019 – LUDINGTON, MI, Stearns Beach, swimming, reported missing around 8 p.m. – Albrianna Huck, F-14, of Ludington. Around 9:50 p.m. someone located Albrianna in the water and pulled her to shore. Among the agencies responding were the Ludington Fire Department, Mason County Sheriff’s Office road patrol and marine divisions, Coast Guard from the Ludington station as well as the helicopter from Traverse City, the Hamlin Township Fire Department, the Michigan State Police Hart Post, Mason County Emergency Management and the Mason County Search Management Team. It was the helicopter crew that noticed individuals waving at them from the shoreline.
- 07/19/2019 – KENOSHA, WI, Eichelman Park, around 6:30 p.m. Christopher Franklin, M-32, swimming
- 07/20/2019 – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – Christian Rosete, M-25, of Michigan City was swimming around 8:30 p.m. near Washington Park Beach in Michigan City. He was with family when he was overcome by waves and did not resurface. It was “red flag” conditions at the time of the incident, meaning no swimming was allowed in the area due to the dangerous water conditions. He was transported in critical condition to Franciscan Health hospital in Michigan City, where he died 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
- 07/20/1019 – CHICAGO, IL – Jose Rubio, M-31, two unresponsive men were found in the water at 2600 N. Lake Shore Drive, approximately two miles east of the Diversey harbor, around 3:30 p.m. Rubio died. One man in stable condition. The two men had jumped out of a boat to go for a swim approximately a half-mile from shore. The men left another person in the boat, but he was inexperienced and was unable to operate the vessel. The two men became separated from the boat when a storm front moved through the Chicago area, causing an increase in the size of the waves. Both men were found unresponsive in the water. Rubio died.
- 07/22/2019 – HAMLIN TOWNSHIP – MISSING SWIMMER – Ludington State Park – Daniel McCarthy, M-19, of Baldwin. At 2:52 p.m., emergency personnel were notified of several persons who had been swept out into Lake Michigan at the Big Sable River outlet in Ludington State Park; tubers were caught in the current where Sable River meets Lake Michigan. It was determined that a total of eight persons were initially swept out into Lake Michigan, however, only seven could be accounted for. Ludington State Park Rangers along with deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office immediately responded to the scene. Support units with the United States Coast Guard, Hamlin Township Fire Department, Life EMS, Ludington Police Department, and United States Coast Guard Air Support also responded to the call.
- 07/24/2019 – CHICAGO, RAINBOW BEACH – Dante Tripp, M-27, Swimming about 9:15 p.m., 3111 E. 77th St., Chicago, helicopter spotted him in the water, divers pulled him to shore, transported to Trinity Hospital in critical condition. He died 07/25/2019.
- 07/25/2019 – LUDINGTON, MI – BIG SABLE RIVER OUTLET – Brian Herrmann, M-38, of Brighton – Another swimmer is missing in Lake Michigan near Ludington – Searchers were looking for a male swimmer who reportedly was among several struggling in the water today near the Big Sable River outlet at Ludington State Park. Emergency crews were at the outlet area searching for missing swimmer, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office at around 4:15 p.m. Body Recovered 07/27/2019 approximately 8 miles north of the Sable River outlet at Ludington State Park where Herrmann went missing while swimming on Thursday, July 25th at 3:13 p.m.
- 07/27/2019 – HOLLAND, MI – SWIMMING – Steven Scott Davis, M-43, about 4:30 p.m., 3300 block of Lakeshore Driv. The man was in the water in the when he began to struggle and he flagged for help. Bystanders saw him go face down as went into the water and brought the man to shore. Ottawa County sheriff’s deputies and paramedics arrived quickly — within 10 minutes of the first 911 call — and began CPR. According to the National Weather Service, the lake conditions involved 3-5 foot waves and 20-30 mph winds out of the southwest, creating an undertow [waves and dangerous currents].
- 07/27/2019 – CHESTERTON, IN – INDIANA DUNES STATE PARK – SWIMMING – Brandon Howard – M-32, of Constantine, MI About 5:50 p.m., a lifeguard at Indiana Dunes saw a man who seemed to be struggling in the water in the designated swim area, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said. As a lifeguard approached the man, he slipped under the water and didn’t resurface. A Chesterton Fire Department diver found the man’s body about 8 p.m. in 10 feet of water, IDNR said. He lived in Michigan.
- 07/27/2019 – CHICAGO – BOAT HOPPNG – Oluwafemi ‘Arthur’ Labinjo, M-30, identified as body recovered 08/01/2019. He was last seen “boat hopping” in Lake Michigan’s “Play Pen” on Saturday 07/27/2019. That is an area where many boats are often moored, with passengers partying on board.
- 08/04/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Luis González Vásquez, M-?, Pulled from the water at 31st Street Beach – it appeared he had hit his head on rocks hidden beneath the water, police said. An autopsy released Monday found Vásquez died from drowning
- 08/05/2019 – CUDAHY, WI – MISSING – Aaron Q. Polnitz, M-19, around 6:23 p.m. near 5400 S. Lake Drive near Warnimont Park in Cudahy. Three young adults went down to a beach area and one went swimming but didn’t come up. Another tried to rescue him unsuccessfully. One of the three ran up the bank and called 911. The Milwaukee Fire Department launched a rescue boat from South Milwaukee Yacht Club. It included a dive team. Cudahy, South Milwaukee, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department and the Coast Guard have also been involved with the search.
- 08/14/2019 – GRAND TRAVERSE BAY, MI – BOATING – Terry Warren, M-57. Warren was last seen leaving the Northport Marina around 4 in the afternoon on Wednesday. His boat came onto the beach near a house off East Ingalls Bay Road more than 5 miles to the south about two hours later. Warren was the only person in the boat and had possibly fallen overboard. Agencies involved in the search included the Leelanau County Sheriff’s, Grand Traverse Band Tribal Police, and Northport firefighters. Body Recovered.
- 08/17/2019 – LITTLE TRAVERSE BAY, MI, NEAR HARBOR SPRINGS – SWIMMING – George Seier, M-71, of Alabama, was attempting to moor his sailboat, when his moored dingy got loose and began to drift away. Authorities said Seier jumped into the water in attempt to retrieve the dingy. Seier swam approximately 75 yards and then attempted to tread water, when he went under water, in approximately 10 feet of water. The sheriffs office was assisted by the Harbor Springs Marine Patrol, Emmet EMS, Harbor Springs Fire Department, and the Emmet County Sheriffs Office Victim Service Unit.
- 08/22/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Rene Padilla, M-35, of Blue Island, IL. Pulled from the water at 31st Street beach, ‘would-be’ rescuer. He was trying to save his 12-year-old daughter who slipped and fell off of a rock and he was overpowered by high waves.
- 08/23/2019 – MILWAUKEE, WI, YACHT CLUB – John Doe, ?-?, an adult was found unresponsive in Lake Michigan near the South Milwaukee Yacht Club around 8:59 p.m. About five minutes later, first responders from the South Milwaukee Fire Department pulled the victim from the water and began CPR, before taking the victim to the hospital.
- 08/25/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Fullerton Drive – John Doe, M-26 A man was pulled from Lake Michigan and was taken to Amita Health St. Joseph Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
- 08/25/2019 – WAUKEGAN, IL – John Otto, M-50, of Mundelein. Otto was on a jet ski went under water and was found unresponsive. The man was given CPR by rescue crews and transferred to a local hospital in critical condition. He died at the hospital. ALSO 14 people including children were rescued from Lake Michigan Sunday around 3:00 a.m. after their boat capsized.
- 09/29/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Jonathan Subida, M-22, Man pulled from Lake Michigan offshore from Rogers Park. He may have jumped from the pier at Tobey Prinz Beach Park at Pratt Boulevard. Hannah Williams Commented on the Rogers Park Neighborhood News Facebook Page: “He passed away – Jonathan Subida – [He was a] Von Steuben graduate and he played on the basketball team with my younger brother. The Medical Examiners list posted: Medical Examiners list stated: Jonathan Subida, 22, of the 6000 block of W. Montrose, unknown causes at 1050 W. Pratt, pronounced 11:15 p.m. [9/29], Area North detectives.
- 10/06/2019 – CHICAGO, IL 7000 block of N. Sheridan Rd. – Donald Lee*, M-64, body had been found in Lake Michigan one morning this October. He was found unresponsive at approximately 9:45 a.m. in the 7000 block of North Sheridan Road — less than half a mile from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus – A StreetWise vendor’s body was found in Lake Michigan. His family drove from Georgia ‘out of love’ to find out more – Oct. 9, Thomas learned that her uncle’s body had been found in the lake three days earlier, The police say Lee’s death remains under investigation. The medical examiner says the autopsy results are pending.
- 10/11/2019 – CHICAGO, IL near Northerly Island – John Doe*, M-24 – A body was found washed up onto the shore near Northerly Island on Chicago’s Near South Side on Friday morning, officials said. A passerby called police after stumbling across the body near the 1500 block of South Linn White Drive around 11:30 a.m. The victim had an identification card in his pocket, which showed that he was a 24-year-old man. “There’s no indication of any trauma yet,” Bown said. “Rigor mortis has set in, but we can’t tell how long he’d been there.”
- 10/17/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Montrose Harbor – John Doe*, M-40-50 – A body was found washed up on the North Side at Montrose Harbor Sunday. Authorities were called about 12:25 p.m. to the 4500 block of North Simonds Drive where they found a man 40 to 50-years old washed up on the beach.
- 10/17/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Fullerton Ave., Lincoln Park – John Doe*, M-26, The body was recovered in Lake Michigan east of Lincoln Park on the North Side / a mile east of Fullerton Avenue.
- 10/26/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Osterman Beach, Sheridan & Ardmore – John Doe*, M-30 to 45 — A man’s body washed up on the shore Saturday morning at Kathy Osterman Beach in the Edgewater Beach neighborhood near Sheridan and Ardmore around 8:45 a.m.
- 10/27/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave. – John/Jane Doe* – A body was pulled from Lake Michigan near Navy Pier 600 block of East Grand Avenue
- 11/17/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Joseph Ramos, M-22, of Franklin Park – The men were last seen leaving a night club in the 200-block of West Ontario Street early Sunday morning. Police said they tracked a cell phone ping around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday to the 100-block of North Lake Shore Drive. Police said POD camera video showed a vehicle drive into Lake Michigan at the location.
- 11/17/2019 – CHICAGO, IL – Antonio Lemon, M-21, of River Grove – The men were last seen leaving a night club in the 200-block of West Ontario Street early Sunday morning. Police said they tracked a cell phone ping around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday to the 100-block of North Lake Shore Drive. Police said POD camera video showed a vehicle drive into Lake Michigan at the location.
- 12/09/2019 – BURNS HARBOR, IN – FELL OFF DOCK – Sara Murawski, F-30, Fell from dock. On Monday, December 9, 2019 at 7:45 PM, the Porter County Coroner’s Office was dispatched to Porter Regional Hospital, 85 E. US Highway 6, Valparaiso regarding a death in the ER. Upon arrival, the deputy was informed that a 30-year-old female, identified as Sara Murawski of Kinde, MI, had been transported to the Emergency Room from the Port of Arcelor Mittal in Burns Harbor, IN. While working on the dock to secure the ship, the decedent fell from the docking area into the near freezing water of Lake Michigan. All attempts were made by fellow shipmates to rescue her, but the female was ultimately located by members of the Porter Fire Dive Team, after a brief search, and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
LAST LISTED IN CRITICAL CONDITION
07/19/2019 – HAMMOND, IN – CRITICAL CONDITION – BOAT DRIVER THROWN IN TO WATER – two vessels that collided northwest of Hammond Marina on Lake Michigan. at 8:15 p.m., one operator was thrown into the water. That operator was retrieved and transported to the University of Chicago for treatment and is listed in critical condition.
09/05/2019 – CRITICAL CONDITION – CHICAGO, IL – NORTH AVENUE BEACH – Jane Doe hospitalized after being pulled from Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach. She was last listed in critical Condition – Witnesses said they saw the person struggling in the water A jogger saw the rescue and administered CPR until paramedics arrived.
LAKE SUPERIOR = 5
- 04/18/2019 – John Doe, M-64, The U.S. Coast Guard has recovered the body of a missing fisherman in Lake Superior. The man was found in the waters off Bay Mills Township following a search by boat of the area
- 06/06/2019 – MARTEN FALLS, Ont. – Adam Spade*, M-14, Provincial police say a 14-year-old boy reported missing in northern Ontario last week was found dead on Saturday. They say Adam Spade of Marten Falls, Ont., was reported missing to the Anishinabek Police Service on Thursday. He had disappeared from a home in Fort William First Nation. On Friday, his body was found in Lake Superior in Fort William First Nation. Provincial officers say a post-mortem will be conducted to determine his cause of death, which is being investigated by the crime unit. Police are asking anyone with information about the investigation to come forward.
- 07/27/2019 – DULUTH, MN – John Doe, M-?, Police were called to the Ore Docks for reports of a man trespassing on CN property. The man went into the waters of Lake Superior in Duluth after being approached by officers. Deputies say the man was “exhibiting odd behavior” when police arrived. Officers saw the man go underwater, but he never resurfaced.
- 09/01/2019 – DULUTH, MN – Jacob Lavoie M-21, He had been missing since early Sunday, Sept. 1, when he was seen leaving Grandma’s Sports Garden and walking north toward downtown. A witness reported that he was last seen walking and climbing fences along the Minnesota Slip on the night of his disappearance. The back of the hotel runs along the Minnesota Slip, with a parking lot and walkway in between, and boats are moored along the slip behind the hotel. Witnesses initially followed the man, the caller told police, but he climbed a fence to reach a closed-access section of the boardwalk along the slip. The witness(es) saw the man jump onto a sailboat and jump off again before losing sight of him. Lavoie’s body was found the next afternoon, Sept. 6, about 10 feet below the surface on the slip’s floor. There were no initial signs of foul play, Phillips said.
- 09/30/2019 – DULUTH, MN – Don Sarter, M-68, Man dies after boat capsizes in Lake Superior – The boat capsized around 11 a.m. Monday near Park Point in Duluth while it was out helping a dredger. Authorities say two of the three men in the boat made it to shore safely, but one was missing in the water. He may have been wearing life jackets but did not have it zipped. The weather was stormy. The Duluth Fire Department had issued a red-flag warning for dangerous swimming conditions for Park Point beaches. A large wave came up behind the 19-foot aluminum-hulled Monark boat, then another crashed over the top and swamped the motor, overturning the boat as it was performing work.
LAKE HURON = 8
- 07/01/2019 – Wasaga Beach, Beach Area 1, 7:45 p.m. – John Doe, M-25, A Brampton man died after he went swimming on Monday and drowned.
- 07/05/2019 – John Doe, M-?, The man possibly fell out of his boat. Provincial police say they were contacted around 9 a.m. Friday with a report of a small aluminum boat travelling in circles off the shores of Southampton. According to police, “quick-acting civilians” were on the scene before emergency services arrived and spotted a man in the water.
- 07/06/2019 – Bruce Peninsula National Park, Georgian Bay, near Tobermory – A 24-year-old Vaughan man while swimming in a popular tourist destination in Bruce Peninsula National Park, near Tobermory. The victim was reportedly swimming with a friend when he disappeared under the water just before 4 p.m. in the scenic area known for its cool, clear waters, which is a premier destination for visitors to the area. The body of the unidentified victim was pulled from the waters of what is known as the Grotto, located on the Georgian Bay shoreline on the west side of the peninsula, around 3 p.m. on July 7.
- 07/08/2019 – SOUTHHAMPTON, Wasaga Beach – John Doe*, M-70, drowned at Wasaga Beach. It is possible that he “suffered some sort of medical issue while swimming”. Then again, drowning is a medical issue which causes the heart to stop
- 07/22/2019 – McGraw County Park, Huron County – Gordon W. Lasceski, M-30, Around 8:48 p.m. the man had been swimming with his fiancé and her two children. The man and children got pulled out into deeper water, caught by surprise by a strong wave current. The children’s mother got them back to shore, but the 30-year-old went under water did not resurface. The man went under the water and never resurfaced. For more than 40 minutes, first responders and registered nurse anesthetist who lives nearby, tried to save the man on the beach and continued life-saving efforts in the ambulance. The victim was pronounced dead around 10:30 p.m.
- 08/04/2019 – BLUEWATER – Joyce Thomas, F-36, from London – A woman’s body was pulled from Lake Huron around 11 a.m. at address along Bluewater Highway, Bluewater on Sunday. Thomas worked as a lawyer, specializing in human rights, labour, employment and Indigenous law.
- 08/04/2019 – MANITOULIN ISLAND – FISHING, CANOE CAPSIZED – Yvon Toulouse M-48, from Sagamok First Nation. A fishing trip over the weekend turned into tragedy when a canoe capsized. Ontario Provincial Police say they responded to a report of a capsized canoe on Sunday, August 4 around 8:00 p.m. in the North Channel of Lake Huron, near Sagamok First Nation. They were assisted by the Anishinabek Police Service and Algoma Emergency Medical Services. Police say the pair was not wearing life jackets when the canoe overturned.
- 08/19/2019 – Darien Clay, M-26, was swimming with friends Monday afternoon near a sand bar at Tawas Point State Park. He became distressed in the water.
LAKE ERIE = 28
- 01/22/2019 – CLEVELAND – Joseph R. O’Donnell*, M-45, was found in the water near the Edgewater Yacht Club by Edgewater Park. O’Donnell had not been seen since Jan. 22. His cause of death has not been determined
- 02/14/2019 – Michel Gaudreault, M-48, of Leamington was reported missing 02/14/2019. His body was recovered 06/16/2019. After a post mortem examination in London, police determined the death was not suspicious.
- 05/18/2019 – GENEVA, OH – Cory Althar*, M-38, On Saturday, May 18, Althar and 19-year-old Jimmy Wells, departed in a 15-foot skiff and had not returned before dark. Radio calls were made from multiple people around 7:30 p.m. Saturday reporting to have heard possible calls for help, and a report of two people in the water. An overturned boat was spotted by a helicopter at 2 a.m. on May 19, about three miles from shore. The U.S. Coast Guard and Ohio Department of Natural Resources had boats in the water searching for them Sunday. The search is now a recovery operation.
- 05/18/2019 – GENEVA, OH – James Wells*, M-19, On Saturday, May 18, 38-year-old Cory Althar and Wells, departed in a 15-foot skiff and had not returned before dark. Radio calls were made from multiple people around 7:30 p.m. Saturday reporting to have heard possible calls for help, and a report of two people in the water. An overturned boat was spotted by a helicopter at 2 a.m. on May 19, about three miles from shore. The U.S. Coast Guard and Ohio Department of Natural Resources had boats in the water searching for them Sunday. The search is now a recovery operation.
- 05/20/2019 – CLEVELAND, OH – Douglas S. Price, M-56, of Cleveland was recovered from Lake Erie on Tuesday afternoon, nearly a full day after he jumped into the water near Voinovich Park in downtown Cleveland.
- 06/08/2019– HURON, OH – Pier Washoff – Henry J. Stout, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Fell into the lake and swept away by waves. The police department tells Channel 3 Stout was trying to get from the pier to the lighthouse, and was most likely knocked off of the pier by a wave.
- 06/26/2019 – Brandon Stegall, M-23, of Sandusky. Authorities responded to the 300 block of Cement Avenue just after 6 p.m. Wednesday for a report a man in the water. Spencer Lippus, 23, who alerted police and is a friend Stegall, told officers that the two of them had gone out on the lake in a zodiac boat. Stegall went for a swim but started to drown. Lippus jumped in the water and tried to save him but was unsuccessful. Lippus then drove the boat back to shore and called police, the Sandusky Register reported. Lippus was later charged with operating a boat under the influence after telling police he drank three cans of beer and declining to finish a sobriety test. Authorities said there were no signs of foul play on the boat and no indication of trauma on Stegall’s body after he was pulled from the water, according to the Sandusky Register.
- 07/08/2019 – HURON, OH – Alvin Martin, M-18, recovered 07/09/2019, would-be rescuer at Nickel Plate Beach in Huron, OH on Sunday. He was trying to help a mother and two kids struggling in the water. During their rescue efforts, Martin went under the water and didn’t resurface. A human chain was formed in the water in effort to rescue the teen. Rescue boats were also deployed in the water and a helicopter searched from the air. The U.S. Coast Guard, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and several area fire departments assisted in the rescue operation.
- 07/19/2019 – WESTFIELD, N.Y. – John Penhollow, M-24, of Jamestown. Three people were swimming between the break walls in Barcelona Harbor when the man drowned. Responding agencies consisted of the Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team, the Westfield Police Department, Westfield Fire Department, Chautauqua County Medic, Chautauqua County Fire Police, Fuller Hose Company No. 1, and the Coast Guard.
- 07/21/2019 – CONNEAUT, OH – Conneaut Township Park – Hector Lozada, M-17, of Cleveland, went under the water while swimming an estimated 40 feet between the two portions of the breakwall, around 6:00 p.m. near Conneaut Township Park.
- 07/20/2019 – Lost Peninsula in the Maumee Bay – Burl E. Steele, M-47, of Maumee. The Coast Guard got a call for a man who went overboard on a boat around 7:30 Saturday not far from Lost Peninsula in the Maumee Bay. Members from Coast Guard Station Toledo are searching the water by boat while crews from Coast Guard Station Detroit search from the air. The body of the missing boater on Lake Erie was recovered by the Toledo Fire and Rescue Dive team on Monday.
- 07/21/2019 – HURON, OH – Nickel Plate Beach – Brittany Young, F-29, of Vermilion, was swimming with her husband and three children when she went under and did not resurface. The Huron police and fire departments responded to conduct the search along with the U.S. Coast Guard, using two boats and a helicopter, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Milan, Norwalk, Perkins Township, and Sandusky Fire Departments. Body recovered 07/25/2019.
- 07/29/2019 – AVON LAKE, OH – Jonathan Luke Sewell, M-31, of Wooster. Two lifeguards pulled him from the Lake Erie at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Lake Road near Avon Belden Road. He was taken to University Hospitals St. John Medical Center July 29. He was pronounced dead, Sunday, six days after he was pulled from the water.
- 07/29/2019 – CATAWBA ISLAND, OH – SWIMMING – Donald Auxter, M-65, Around 3 p.m., near Gem Beach Marina in Catawba Island, authorities received a call that a man went missing while swimming in the lake with his family, he search was called off around 4:35 p.m. after the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of the man. Station Marblehead confirmed the man had drowned in a Facebook post and stressed the importance of wearing a life jacket. The man’s identity has not been released at this time.
- 08/05/2019 – Ivan Yoder, M-44, of Wayne County. The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the call at 4:35 p.m. after what was described as a 20-foot, open-construction boat that crashed in Lake Erie about 10 miles north of Lorain. The Coast Guard responded to find one person in the boat and four in the water, Neff said. “One of the boat’s occupants said the crash was caused because it had hit three wakes”.
- 08/08/2019 – RIPLEY, NY – CLIFF JUMPING – Alex L. Musser, M-19, of Erie, PA. Four males had reportedly gone to the Ripley Beach area to go cliff jumping and two of the males, both 19-year-old, jumped into the water and became distressed. Musser drowned.
- 08/17/2019 – BOATER – CONNEAUT, OH – Raymond Burns, M-58, of Kensington, PA – The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a missing boater after a vessel capsized in Ashtabula County on Saturday morning. The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m., when four boaters where dumped into Lake Erie about 10 miles off the coast of Conneaut after getting caught in an isolated storm. A fisherman happened to be nearby and was able to rescue three of the boaters
- 08/21/2019 – Haldimand County, near the shoreline in Featherstone – John Doe, M-48, he went missing about an hour after setting out in is his inflatable boat. 911 call at 11:00 a.m., his vessel was located unoccupied.
- 08/17/2019 – LASALLE, MI – Jill Jolene Parrinello-Davey, F-50, of Manchester, Jill and Darrin had been reported missing a week ago. They were found inside a car that was submerged in Lake Erie waters off Toledo Beach Marina. The car was in about 13 feet of water about 50 feet offshore. The car was also close to the parking lot of the Sand Bar where the couple had been visiting. Their cell phones shut down around 1 a.m. Saturday. Authorities theorized that the couple left the bar and the driver of the car mistakenly drove into the lake. The car was about 50′ offshore because vehicles that submerge float before settling.
- 08/17/2019 – LASALLE, MI – Darrin Paul Gabbard, M-48, of Allen Park. Jill and Darrin had been reported missing a week ago. They were found inside a car that was submerged in Lake Erie waters off Toledo Beach Marina. The car was in about 13 feet of water about 50 feet offshore. The car was also close to the parking lot of the Sand Bar where the couple had been visiting. Their cell phones shut down around 1 a.m. Saturday. Authorities theorized that the couple left the bar and the driver of the car mistakenly drove into the lake. The car was about 50′ offshore because vehicles that submerge float before settling.
- 08/21/2019– HALDIMAND COUNTY, FETHERSTONE POINT – FISHING – David Doyle, M-48, fishing, Police say Doyle went fishing around 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22 in a small boat near Featherstone Point, south of Fisherville in Haldimand County. But when a friend looked at the lake from a telescope about an hour later, police say, they saw that Doyle was gone and the boat was empty. His body was recovered 08/25/2019.
- 09/01/2019 – MISSING – BOATING/FISHING – Robin Eckleberry, M-46, Eckleberry is believed to have gone fishing early Sunday morning by himself. He left before sunrise and was not heard from that afternoon when family and friends expected him home. Cleveland Metroparks Police Department received an “overdue boater” call at 7 p.m. Sunday. It’s unclear how Eckleberry disappeared. Parishioners and authorities say a single shoe, cell phone and life jacket were found but no fishing net. BODY RECOVERED 10/01/2019 –FAIRPORT HARBOR, OH – Robin Eckelberry, 46, was found in Lake Erie off Fairport Harbor on Saturday. The father of three has been missing since the Sunday of Labor Day weekend when he set off alone on a fishing trip on Lake Erie and didn’t return home. He left from a dock near Edgewater Park around 4 a.m. Sept. 1 and was supposed to return by 2 p.m. the same day. When he failed to return, a search that included boats and aircraft was launched and his boat was found idling about a mile offshore. The Coast Guard surmises Robin, who was not wearing a life jacket, fell overboard into the rough waters while fishing that day.
- 09/05/2019 – Jane Doe, F-53, from Haldimand County was pulled from Lake Erie in Nanticoke. A vehicle belonging to the woman was found parked nearby.
- 09/22/2019 – LEAMINGTON – Robert Tonato, M-54, of Windsor was pulled from the water at Seacliff Beach near Erie Street South around 7 p.m.
- 09/25/2019 – CLEVELAND, OH – Sharaf Alhashim, M-24, Man dies after chasing errant volleyball into Lake Erie – the man was playing volleyball with friends late Wednesday at the East Ninth Street Pier near downtown Cleveland. The volleyball bounced into the water, and the young man jumped in the lake to retrieve the ball. The man struggled to return to the pier, and two of his friends jumped into the lake to help him. They weren’t able to reach him before he slipped below the surface.
- 11/19/2019 – CLEVELAND, OH – FISHING – Earnest James, M-45, of Cleveland was one of nearly 8,000 people enrolled as a competitor in the Annual 2019 Walleye Fall Brawl Fishing Competition. The U.S. Coast Guard found James’ body about 10:30 a.m. Monday, about 2 miles off into the lake off the East 72nd Street marina.
- 12/09/2019– MONROE TOWNSHIP, OH – FISHING – Kenneth Stephen Sisk, 51, of Taylor. The accident happened about 7:45 a.m. Sunday in Bolles Harbor, about a mile offshore. The call for help involved two boaters on a 16-foot vessel that was taking on water; the boat got tangled up in a fishing net and had flipped over by the time first responders arrived with their boats for a search. Sisk was not recovered. It is not know if he was wearing a life jacket. Body recovered 02/26/2020 near Ford Beach, 3200 block of E. Elm Ave., in the City of Monroe.
- 12/28/2019 – Presque Isle State Park, PA – Joy Bartlett*, F-72, Duck hunters discovered the body along the shoreline near the East Pier around 8:30 a.m. It was found tangled in bushes in the water, and a boat was used to remove the body from the water. The body is that of a woman who was between 60-70 years old, according to State Police. She is approximately 5′ 5″ tall and 135 pounds with shorter gray and white hair. The woman was dressed in multiple layers of thermal underwear top and bottom. She was wearing a blue hooded jacket, winter ankle-high boots and a ring on her left hand.
LAKE ONTARIO = 10
- 01/27/2019 – John Doe, M-?, Toronto police say they believe it was an accident when a car plunged into the icy waters of Lake Ontario on Sunday near Billy Bishop Airport, killing its driver. “While the investigation continues, we do believe that this was accidental,” Sgt. Brett Moore, spokesperson for Toronto police’s traffic services, told CBC Toronto in an email on Monday. Divers pulled a man’s body from the nearly frozen lake after the vehicle fell into the water near the ferry dock at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. A dive team and the police marine unit had scoured the area for hours.
- 07/02/2019 – David Black, M-55 A man and a woman in their 50s have been found dead after divers recovered a vehicle that plunged into Lake Ontario.
- 07/02/2019 – Natalie Black, F-51 A man and a woman in their 50s have been found dead after divers recovered a vehicle that plunged into Lake Ontario.
- 07/09/2019 – OSWEGO, N.Y. – Karen M. Aubertine, F-32, found near Mercer Street, between East 9th Street and East 10th Street, just before 10 a.m. Tuesday. The circumstances surrounding the woman’s death are unknown and does not appear suspicious, police said.
- 07/14/2019 – PICKERING, ONT, Beachfront Park, Swimming after son in offshore wind, Nichole McWatters, F-33, A mother who died after jumping into Lake Ontario over the weekend was trying to help her six-year-old son who got carried away from shore while on a floating device. The 33-year-old woman, as well as three others, entered the body of water at Beachfront Park in Pickering, Ont., just east of Toronto, on Sunday just before 4 p.m. to assist the young boy in distress. “It’s believed the mother’s six-year-old son was on an inflatable device when the wind caught it and took him away from shore,” investigators said in a news release issued on Monday.
- 07/26/2019 – TORONTO, CA – CHERRY BEACH – Jane Doe, F-?, around 9 a.m. lifeguards went in toe water at the west end of the beach near the dog park and pulled the woman out and performed CPR. She later died.
- 07/27/2019 – NIAGARA, JORDAN HARBOR – POSSIBLE KAYAK OR SUP RENTAL – David Martens, M-46, of Grimsby was last seen at about 3 p.m. on July 27 at the Beacon Harbourside kayak rental area along Lake Ontario in Jordan Harbour. His body was recovered 08/01/2019. Martens’ vehicle was found at the Beacon Harbourside and investigators think he may have rented a kayak or paddleboard. Police say they had conducted water and shoreline searches in conjunction with the Canadian Coast Guard. They add that the search included the use of vessels, planes, helicopters and underwater sonar. Police say currents and wave action had been northernly since Martens went missing.
- 08/07/2019 – Ryan David Orbaker, M-20, from Lyons, New York died Wednesday when he went for a swim in Lake Ontario off Point Peninsula in the Jefferson County Town of Lyme.07/25/2020 – TORONTO – SWIMMING – John Doe, M-?, The body of a missing man has been located in Lake Ontario near Toronto Islands, Toronto Police said. The man was last seen at 9 p.m. on . Police say he may have gone swimming at the time. The body was found just after 8:15 a.m. on July 26 by Toronto Police’s marine unit.
- 07/26/2020 – SWIMMING AROUND 1 P.M. -– BYSTANDER RESCUES – North Beach Provincial Park, Alex Aloysius M-63, of Oshawa, Ont.
- 07/26/2020 – SWIMMING AROUND 6 P.M. – BYSTANDER RESCUES – North Beach Provincial Park – Muhammad Azmat, M-25, of Mississauga, Ont.
CAUSE OF DEATH NOT YET CONFIRMED
- 07/06/2019 – John Doe, M-?, One person is dead and another has been rushed to hospital in serious condition after a Sea Doo collision in Lake Ontario on Saturday morning.
[NOTE: 2018 stats are currently under review for final confirmation]
117 Great Lakes Drownings in 2018
740 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010 (+/-)
(Last updated 12/23/2018, 11:30 a.m.)
GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics. In 2018, the GLSRP is tracking 117 Great Lakes drownings. Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 740 Great Lakes drownings. Full statistics here. Note: * = (+/-) Awaiting 100% confirmation of drowning.
74 drownings in 2010
87 in 2011
99 in 2012
67 in 2013
54 in 2014
55 in 2015
99 in 2016
88 in 2017
117 to date in 2018
740 since 2010
To date in 2018 by Lake:
43 in Lake Michigan
5 in Lake Superior
8 in Lake Huron
36 in Lake Erie
25 in Lake Ontario
117 to date in 2018
LAKE MICHIGAN = 43
- 01/26/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – John Doe, M-?*, a call to 911 reporting a man in the water near the rocks at Promontory Point in the Hyde Park, 5300 block of South Lake Shore Drive.
- 02/05/2018 – CALEDONIA, WI – Christopher Crowell*, M-58,. Crowell was recovered at the 700 block of Waters Edge Road, north of the Siena Center grounds. Sometime between 10:45 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. Monday, Crowell left his nearby home and was reportedly walking on a pathway where he would normally walk next to the lake. Crowell apparently fell off an icy bluff near the pathway into the lake
- 02/09/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Demetrius Yancy, M-63, was found in the water at 3:34 p.m. Feb. 9 near the 3000 block of North Lake Shore Drive in Lake Michigan near Belmont Harbor. Died of drowning, according to the medical examiner’s office. Hypothermia due to environmental cold exposure was listed as a secondary cause. 02/09/2018 Found along the 3200 block of North Lake Shore Drive, in the city’s Lakeview East neighborhood. Rescuers trudged through thigh-deep snow to pull man from frigid Lake Michigan – Ron Dorneker told reporters the person was recovered from the water and then dragged in a sled-like device over the thick snow to a waiting ambulance. It was not clear why the man, who was not wearing any clothes, was in the water. (Additional Story here.)
- 04/10/2018 – BENTON HARBOR, MI – Ralph Ford*, M-74, washed up near the shoreline in Rocky Gap Park, Berrien County, Michigan. He was reported missing on April 10 when he was last seen on his dock at Brian’s Marina in St. Joseph. The estimated distance from where the man was last scene to the spot where his body was recovered to be at least a mile by water.
- 05/01/2018 – CLEVELAND, WI – Minhbao Pham, M-38, On May 1, dispatchers received a report of a person in the water who appeared to be in distress. Witnesses said they saw the person go under water without resurfacing. The SCUBA team searched the water near Hika Bay Park in the Village of Cleveland, WI. A vehicle was found in the parking area at the boat launch. Body recovered on 05/22/2018 – Minhbao Pham, M-38*, Manitowoc County sheriff: Man found dead on Lake Michigan shoreline Tuesday evening about 1.5 miles south of Hika Bay Park in Cleveland.
- 06/02/2018 – WAUKEGAN, IL – Angel Sedano, M-16. Firefighters were called to the Waukegan Municipal Beach about 10:30 p.m. Saturday to assist police in the search for a missing person, later determined to be Sedano. His body was discovered about 11 a.m. Sunday 06/03/2018 by Waukegan Fire Department divers in about 15 feet of water in a harbor channel.
- 06/04/2018 – MANISTIQUE, MI – John Doe, M-23, According to a DNR press release, One rescued. One drowned. “At about 3:30 p.m. Monday, regional dispatchers received a call from a man who said his son and a friend had taken a kayak out into Lake Michigan off South Barques Point Trail, which is located south of Manistique. The man, who was calling from a vacation rental property they were staying at, said the kayak had overturned. Strong wind prevented his son and his friend from returning to shore. He told dispatchers he could see the men bobbing in the water next to the kayak. Neither man had a life jacket. The water temperature was about 50 degrees. This incident emphasizes the importance of wearing life jackets while boating,” said Lt. Skip Hagy, a DNR regional law supervisor. “Once again, the Great Lakes have proved they are nothing to underestimate, especially on days with high seas.”
- 06/30/2018 – KENOSHA, WI – John Doe, M-28, Would-be Rescuer – Waves and Outlet Current – The man had been at the beach with his 10-year-old daughter and his 7-year-old son near Pennoyer Park at the mouth of the Pike River. His daughter was swimming and had some trouble. Her father, who doesn’t know how to swim, went to get her and became distressed himself. It was the second drowning this month at the mouth of the Pike River, an area that is particularly dangerous for swimming. The flow of the river into the lake creates strong currents that pull swimmers away from shore, and sometimes a dangerous undertow. The beach near the river is posted with signs warning of dangerous conditions. “I can’t stress enough that the mouth of the creek is the most dangerous place to swim,” Leipzig said. Beller said three more people were rescued from the water near the river on Sunday afternoon. He said at about 3:15 p.m. two teenagers were swimming off Pennoyer Park when “they got pulled out by the current and people heard them yelling for help.” A stranger, a 37-year-old man who had been at the beach, heard their calls and went in to help them, then he too became distressed, Beller said. He said two men who were kitesurfing in the area heard them and rescued the three people and brought them to shore.
- 07/05/2018 – GRAND HAVEN, MI – Emmanuel Niyomugabo, M-25, Body pulled from Lake Michigan in Grand Haven
- 07/05/2018 – KEWAUNEE, WI – Mark Wautelet, M-38, MISSING – Recovery Mission The U.S. Coast Guard is looking for a missing fisherman on Lake Michigan near Kewaunee. Officials are searching Thursday for Mark Wautelet, who is in his 60s. Officials say Kewaunee Dispatch notified the Coast Guard late Wednesday of a 35-foot pleasure craft with one occupant that left the Kewaunee Marina at about 5 p.m. and was due back by about 9:30 p.m. The Coast Guard says a helicopter found the vessel beached on shore early Thursday before it left to refuel. Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department officials confirmed nobody was aboard the boat, which was rigged for fishing. A helicopter was to continue searching Thursday.
- 07/06/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Darinanne Torres, F-13, of Chicago. Playing in the waves with 4 friends on the North Side at Loyola Beach. Rescue crews searched the water for 45 minutes and eventually found the girl. The performed CPR and she was taken to the hospital. She was unresponsive and is critical condition.
- 07/10/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Horacio Leon Jr**., M-55, He was taken to the hospital in critical condition after being pulled from Lake Michigan Tuesday at Monroe Harbor near Jackson Drive – 300 S. Lake Shore Drive (nb). The media did not follow up on the condition of Mr. Leon. His daughter contacted the GLSRP and notified that Leon had died July 23, 2018. (Death certificate listed suicide. His daughter is appealing the certificate. She states that there was no depression, suicidal tendecies or reason to believe that he commited suicide. He had purchased a new mountain bike the day he drowned. Was riding around downtown Chicago taking tourist pictures. His bike was never recovered.)
- 07/21/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Jon Santarelli*, M-53, CFD, Coast Guard Searching for Man Overboard From Race to Mackinac Boat — 35-year-old man falling into the water from a boat competing in the Race to Mackinac. The boat was several miles offshore near Navy Pier. According to authorities, Santarelli was wearing red gear when he went overboard from the boat “Imedi.” There were life-jackets on the boat, but it’s unclear if he was wearing one. As of 9 p.m., the search was called off due to darkness, according to authorities. The search is set to resume Sunday. High waves caused problems in the search.
- 07/23/2018 – GARY, IN – Tiara Hardy, F-24, Swimming. Waves 3-4’. Caught in rip current around 7:25 p.m. at Marquette Park Beach, Gary, IN. Lifeguards off Duty.
- 07/28/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – John Doe, M-50, Jet skier without lifejacket submerged for over 15 minutes before he was pulled from the water at 59th Street Harbor.
- 08/05/2018 – GRAND HAVEN, MI – Jeremiah Diaz, M-20, of Lansing, MI. Emergency responders were called to the area of the State Park Pavilion around 3:45 p.m. on a report of several swimmers struggling. Emergency responders organized human chains to find another swimmer who had gone under. Around the same time, five swimmers were pulled from the water in the same area. Two of them, a 17-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man, were hospitalized. They were later listed in stable condition. Less than half an hour before the incident with multiple victims, a 46-year-old Alto man was pulled from the water by bystanders. He was hospitalized in serious condition.
- 08/05/2018 – GRAND HAVEN, MI – David Knaffle, M-64, of Wyoming. Crews were called to Grand Haven State Park at 1001 South Harbor Drive shortly after noon on a report of a man struggling in the water near the Stat Park Pavilion. He went completely underwater before help arrived. Emergency responders, an off-duty firefighter from East Grand Rapids and other beachgoers formed a human chain to find Knaffle about 12 minutes after the initial call to 911. It was the first of three incidents on the lake at Grand Haven Sunday. A few hours after Knaffle was pulled from the water, a 46-year-old Alto man had to be rescued and was hospitalized in serious condition. Less than an hour after that, more swimmers had to be rescued at Grand Haven State Park. Again, authorities and bystanders formed a human chain to pull five swimmers from the water. One of them, a 20-year-old from Lansing, later died.
- 08/05/2018 – PORTAGE, IN – Salomon C. Martinez, M-30, from Cincinnati, OH. The victim was among five friends who went swimming together at the Portage Lakefront Riverwalk Beach, but he failed to resurface with them. Portage and Porter Fire Department rescuers located the victim about 200 feet from shore and pulled him out of the water about 4:46 p.m. A south wind had made the lake surface choppy. They began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency medical service personnel transported him to a hospital.
- 08/09/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – James DeAndre Sharpe, M-48, The Chicago Police Department Marine Unit recovered the body of a 48-year-old man from Lake Michigan on the city’s South Side early Thursday in the 4600-block of South Lake Shore Drive in the city’s Kenwood neighborhood, south of Oakwood – 41st Street Beach.
- 08/11/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – BOATING ACCIDENT – Mitchell Z. Sroka, M-67, Sroka, who was driving the boat and his companion filled up the vehicle’s fuel tanks shortly before the explosion and fire. The tanks were about three-quarters full when Sroka, who was driving the boat, started its engines after washing it down, Cross said. “One engine started without issue,” he said. “The second engine misfired, then started again after another attempt, and then exploded a short time after that.” The explosion sent debris and both men into the water, he said. Sroka was pronounced dead at the scene. Family, friends mourn avid Arlington Heights boater Link
- 08/15/2018 – OTTAWA COUNTY, MI – Brandon Schmidt, M-20, about 8:21 p.m. near the 7900 block of Margaret Avenue at Windsnest Park in Port Sheldon Township. A man was about 20 feet out into the lake when he disappeared. He was recovered and taken to Holland Hospital in critical condition and later died.
- 08/17/2018 – WAUKEGAN, IL – John Doe, 14, The 14-year-old boy who went under while trying to swim across a channel between Waukegan Harbor and the city’s beach at about 6 p.m. Friday has died. The teen was one of four young men who attempted to cross from a breakwall near Stiner Pavilion, off the south end of Municipal Beach, to another bordering the harbor. While one teen made it across and was helped from the water by passersby, two stayed on the Municipal Beach side, and they saw the teen go underwater. The incident was the second in the channel this summer. In early June, a 16-year-old from Gurnee was found dead between the breakwalls the morning after he was reported missing from a lakefront gathering.
- 08/18/2018 – CHESTERTON, IN – Joshua Torres, M-10, approximately 4:45 p.m., Torres was pulled from Lake Michigan near the shores of Indiana Dunes State Park. North wind and waves. The boy was found face down in the water about 40 yards from shore. He was pulled from the water and CPR was started before he was transported to Porter Regional Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Buoy 45007 4:50 p.m. Winds North, 13.6 mph/15.5 mph, 3’ NNE.
- 08/18/2018 – CHESTERTON, IN – Malik Freeman, M-14, approximately 5:40 p.m., Freeman was pulled from the water approximately 50 yards from shore near the same area. Two on-duty Porter Police Officers entered the water and pulled him to shore. CPR was initiated by an on-duty Chesterton Police Officer prior to being transported to Porter Regional Hospital where he was later airlifted to Comer Children’s Hospital Chicago in critical condition and later died. Buoy 45007 4:50 p.m. Winds North, 13.6 mph/15.5 mph, 3’ NNE.
- 08/20/2018 – BELGIUM, WI – Paige Berndt, F-32, An outing at Harrington Beach State Park turned tragic. One swimmer passed away and another remained missing Tuesday, Aug. 21. A group of five out camping took the plunge into Lake Michigan about 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20. Only four returned to shore. Ozaukee County sheriff’s officials said around 5 p.m. Monday the search for the missing swimmer, Ahmad Adl, transitioned from a rescue operation to a recovery effort.
- 08/20/2018 – BELGIUM, WI – Ahmad Adl, M-34, An outing at Harrington Beach State Park turned tragic. One swimmer passed away and another remained missing Tuesday, Aug. 21. (Adl’s body was recovered on 09/03/2018.) A group of five out camping took the plunge into Lake Michigan about 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20. Only four returned to shore. Ozaukee County sheriff’s officials said around 5 p.m. Monday the search for the missing swimmer, Ahmad Adl, transitioned from a rescue operation to a recovery effort.
- 08/25/2018 – FRANKFORT, MI – John Jarman Jr, M-?, of Olmsted Falls, Ohio was washed off the North Pier in Frankfort just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The man was pulled from the water by a family member and a police officer, officers said. CPR and other life-saving efforts were made but the man died, officers said.
- 08/27/2018 – LAKE FOREST, IL – Sebastian Duncan, M-20, Two kayakers were on the lake Sunday night. Conditions became rough and both kayaks capsized. Neither was wearing lifejackets. Duncan is missing. His body was recovered Saturday, 09/08/1018, near Fort Sheridan. He went missing after his kayak overturned Aug. 27 in waves on Lake Michigan.
- 08/27/2018 – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – Possibly swimming – Mark Gaff, M-48, pulled from the waters of Lake Michigan at Washington Park Beach around 2:15 p.m. Monday, August 27, 2018. He remained in critical condition as of Monday night. The water was smooth and calm at the time of the incident. Gaff died 08/30/2018. CPR EFFORTS: Jennifer Freese, of Michigan City, is a registered nurse at Franciscan Health Michigan City, and performed CPR on Gaff. Freese checked for a pulse and could not find one, so she went to work. “Someone was starting to do CPR, and I said I’m a nurse so they let me do it. I started CPR and we were able to get a pulse,” she said. “He never woke up all the time we were there. He was pretty blue and there was water coming up out of his mouth. I’m surprised he made it.”
- 08/31/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Fallen in – Jane Doe, F-25. Early Friday morning a 25-year-old woman fell into Lake Michigan in the 3900-block of South Lake Shore Drive at about 2:01 a.m. Divers pulled the woman out of the water and she was transported to University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
- 08/31/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Fallen in and/or Swimming – John Doe, M-30, A man was pulled from Lake Michigan Friday night at the 59th Street Harbor on the South Side about 8:45 p.m., in the 5900 block of South Lake Shore Drive; He had apparently fallen from “Dock C”, located behind the Museum of Science and Industry. Someone had attempted to throw a lifesaver to the man, but he went under, Chicago police said. Paramedics began CPR on the man and took him to the University of Chicago Medical Center where he died.
- 08/31/2018 – KENOSHA, WI – Tamara Brague, F-58, Brague had been boating with her husband and friends and had stopped at the Kenosha Yacht Club, 5130 Fourth Ave. on Simmons Island. At some point, the woman became separated from the others as they returned the boat to the harbor. Brague was found floating facedown in the lake at about 8:37 p.m. Friday by a fisherman. She was transported to the hospital where she later died.
- 09/06/2018 – KENOSHA, WI – PIER JUMPING – Donovan Anderson, M-17, A local teen jumped off the north pier of Kenosha Harbor, was overpowered by Lake Michigan currents and disappeared below the surface. A photo for the school yearbook turned tragic. A Scout Leader Rescue boat with sonar equipment and a Coast Guard helicopter failed in attempts to find the body.
- 09/08/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – SWEPT IN BY WAVE – “CRITICAL CONDITION” – Ramiro Calixto, M-? A man was swept in Lake Michigan near North Avenue Beach. He washed ashore at Oak Street, recovered, and rushed to hospital in extreme critical condition.
- 09/24/2018 – TRAVERSE CITY, MI – MISSING – West Grand Traverse Bay – Randy Robert Day, M-42, he may have been kayaking in West Grand Traverse Bay Monday morning. A charter boat captain reported finding a kayak Monday afternoon near Old Mission Peninsula’s Neahtawanta Point. Authorities found his vehicle parked at the Bowers Harbor boat launch Wednesday afternoon. They also found Day’s backpack that day at Lee Point at about 4:30 p.m., southeast of Suttons Bay.
- 10/01/2018 – MILWAUKEE, WI – near Erie Street – Hollice Darnell Neal, M-66, body recovered. It’s unknown where the man had entered the water, how long he had been in, and when he was last known to be alive.
- 10/04/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Hysen Mani, M-87, was reported missing Thursday from the Jefferson Park neighborhood. He was found dead in Lake Michigan Friday at Montrose Beach by family members. He had apparently drowned. There were North wind and waves last Thursday.
- 10/06/2018 – RACINE, WI – John Doe, M-80, of Janesville was pulled out of the water around 8:30 a.m. at the Racine Yacht Club
- 10/13/2018 – RACINE, WI missing to WAYLAND, MI recovered – Daniel Sprecksel, M-59, of Racine, WI. Sprecksel was last seen fishing on a pier in Racine on Oct. 13, 2018. A missing person report was filed by Racine police on Oct. 17. The body was found 11/14/2018 on the water’s edge north of South Haven, MI, in Allegan County.
- 11/04/2018 – Highland Park, IL – Lena Lemesh, F-52, of Elgin, IL, went missing Sunday while swimming in Lake Michigan near Park Avenue Beach in Highland Park. She disappeared while she and nine other members of a cold-water swimming group attempted to navigate what authorities described as dangerous conditions. Her body was recovered 11/04/2018.
- 11/04/2018 – Highland Park, IL – Stanislaw Wlosek Jr., M-46. Cold water swimming, waves, and dangerous currents in Lake Michigan near Park Avenue Beach in Highland Park. He was with nine other members of a cold-water swimming group attempted to navigate what authorities described as dangerous conditions. Her body was recovered 11/10/2018.
- 12/21/2018 – CHICAGO, IL – Jane Doe, F-22, jumped in Lake Michigan at North Avenue break wall, Wind, waves, cold water were factors. She is till missing.
- 12/21/2018 – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – Slater Harkleroad, M-20, of Union Mills – Two young males were walking on the breakwall when they both fell into the water after being knocked over by waves. One of them was able to swim back to the breakwall and tried to throw a life ring out to rescue his friend. The other male, Slater Harkleroad, did not resurface. He was eventually recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard and was taken to Franciscan Health Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
LAKE SUPERIOR = 5
- 08/22/2018 – MUNISING, MI – Silvija Ronis, F-81, Ronis reportedly had Alzheimer’s and ventured into the lake at Munising Bay at approximately 12:35 p.m. for unknown reasons. The incident is being treated as a drowning. No foul play is suspected. A beach hazard statement warning of rough water conditions, strong currents and dangerous wave action had been in effect earlier in the week. Winds in the Munising area were measured at 37 mph that evening, according to the National Weather Service.
- 08/31/2018 – BAYFIELD, WI – Kayaking – Eric Fryman*, M-39; On Thursday evening a father and three children died after their kayak capsized in Lake Superior 3 to 4 foot waves; the wife was rescued.
- 08/31/2018 – BAYFIELD, WI – Kayaking – Kyra Fryman*, F-9; They were on their last “big hurrah before school starts” vacation, visiting the Apostle Islands’, Madeline Island, on Lake Superior. Kayak capsized in Lake Superior 3 to 4 foot waves; the mother was rescued.
- 08/31/2018 – BAYFIELD, WI – Kayaking – Annaliese Fryman*, F-5; They were on their last “big hurrah before school starts” vacation, visiting the Apostle Islands’, Madeline Island, on Lake Superior. Kayak capsized in Lake Superior 3 to 4 foot waves; the mother was rescued.
- 08/31/2018 – BAYFIELD, WI – Kayaking – Jansen Fryman*, M-3, They were on their last “big hurrah before school starts” vacation, visiting the Apostle Islands’, Madeline Island, on Lake Superior. Kayak capsized in Lake Superior 3 to 4 foot waves; the mother was rescued.
LAKE HURON = 8
- 02/04/2018 – FAIRHAVEN TWP, MI, 9:30 a.m. Sunday about a half mile west of Rose Island.– Dennis W. Shaw*, 73, of Fowlerville,Two men die after falling through ice on Saginaw Bay – the two men had been found in a few feet of water along with a four-wheeler. The incident came to authorities’ attention after a friend of had received a voicemail from one of the two men, saying they had broken through the ice and needed help.
- 02/04/2018 – FAIRHAVEN TWP, MI, 9:30 a.m. Sunday about a half mile west of Rose Island.– Willard E. Slider*, 69, of Caro. Two men die after falling through ice on Saginaw Bay – the two men had been found in a few feet of water along with a four-wheeler. The incident came to authorities’ attention after a friend of had received a voicemail from one of the two men, saying they had broken through the ice and needed help.
- 06/15/2018 – Debby Chambers, F-61, kayak overturned off Midland Bay Woods in Tay Township on Friday afternoon around 1:15 p.m. Chambers was of Port McNicoll. She’s a mother of two sons, both of whom are getting married later this year. It’s believed she went out on the water in her kayak to catch up with her dog, fell into the water, and drowned. The OPP say she was not wearing a life jacket.
- 06/17/2018 – John Doe, M-18, Friends were alarmed when an 18-year-old Sandusky man jumped into the water but didn’t surface around 4:30 p.m. outside the harbor wall in Port Sanilac. He was found unconscious and not responsive in about eight feet of water. The man was flown by Lifenet to a Saginaw hospital. CONDITION UNKNOWN.
- 07/07/2018 – Ayat Alkubet, F-2, pulled from Lake Huron, north of Grand Bend at Port Blake Conservation Area, located off Bluewater Veteran’s Highway, just after 9 p.m. Saturday. The toddler was unresponsive after being pulled from Lake Huron. She was taken to hospital, where she died two days later on Monday. Police said foul play is not suspected.
- 08/18/2018 – GEORGIAN BAY, OWEN SOUND – SWIMMING – Derick Henry, M-27, Authorities were searching for a man who jumped from a boat into Owen Sound harbor along with a family friend Saturday to rescue a family pet but the man “failed to surface”. The incident happened north of the Georgian Yacht Club, past the buoys. Body recovered 08/21/2018.
- 08/25/2018 – GRAND BEND, ON – Kane Rodricks, M-29, Shortly before 6 p.m. on Saturday Emergency Medical Services responded to an address on Bluewater Highway near Grand Bend following reports of a man in distress in Lake Huron. The man had been swimming with friends and family when he submerged. He was located unconscious and pulled to shore but efforts to resuscitate him failed.
- 09/02/2018 – COLLINGWOOD HARBOR, ONTARIO – Chris Robins, M-35, He was swimming at Collingwood harbor with friends at approximately 7 p.m. Sunday night when they lost sight of him – swimming from the end of a pier to a boat that was tied up nearby, but they say he never made it to the boat.
LAKE ERIE = 36
- 01/10/2018 – Derik Bondy, M-40, NEWPORT, MI near Stony Point Peninsula. The body of the missing Frenchtown Township man who plunged through the ice while riding an ATV on Lake Erie last week has been recovered in about 10 feet of water about 1,200 feet offshore on the lake side of Stony Point. Body Recovered 01/18/2018.
- 02/17/2018 – Thomas Fields, M-65, BODY OF BUFFALO MAN RECOVERED FROM LAKE ERIE – found in Presque Isle Bay near Erie, Pennsylvania. Surveillance video from a nearby tower shows that Fields was alone when he fell off a dock called Dobbins Landing at about 6:00 a.m. on Saturday.
- 03/29/2018 – John Doe, M-?, Body Pulled From Lake Erie near Pelee Island Ferry dock on Erie St. in Leamington.
- 04/05/2018 – Steve Dreyer*, M-54 – The Lake County Sheriff’s Office had been searching for Dreyer since the evening of Jan. 8. Dreyer’s body washed ashore from Lake Erie on April 5. At that time the coroner’s office said the body had been in the water for “some time.” The Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office said a cause of death is still under investigation*, but there are no signs of foul play.
- 05/06/2018 – A fisherman called the OPP around noon after finding a body floating in the water about a kilometre off the Kingsville dock.
- 05/12/2018 – Eric Przykuta, M-43, Przykuta was one of three people on board a 23-25′ boat that crashed into the break wall near the middle gap of the Outer Harbor, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Two other men on the boat were able to make it safely onto the break wall and call for help. Przykuta could not be located in the water following the crash. He was eventually found on the lake side of the wall around 8:30 Sunday morning. His body was found not far from the point of impact.According to Coast Guard officials, the water temperature late Saturday was around 45 degrees and waves were less than one foot. They say it appears none of the men were wearing life jackets. A bag full of life jackets was recovered, and a single life jacket was found on the wall. The victim did not have a life jacket on when his body was found.
- 05/16/2018 – Robert Maccubbin, M-50, was fishing in a raft recovered. He was found in the water near the raft near Lake Shore Road, Hamburg, N.Y. He died at the hospital.
- 06/07/2018 – John Doe, M-?, the body of an older white male was recovered from Lake Erie Thursday afternoon amongst a reed bed along the shoreline, near Grand River Marine. No further details were available Thursday.
- 06/15/2018 – Anthony Pucek, M-57, at Edgewater Park. Cleveland Metroparks rangers received a call about 11:50 p.m. for a report of a swimmer in distress.
- 06/21/2018 – John Doe, M-?, a body was recovered from Lake Erie about 1.5 miles off Woodlawn Beach on Wednesday. The body was discovered by jet skiers. Sheriff’s reports say the individual appears to a white male with some facial hair, but due to advanced decomposition, no other discerning marks or features were visible. The deceased was wearing a black jacket, possibly leather, jeans and socks. The condition of the clothing was deteriorated. The Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death and to identify the individual.
- 06/21/2018 – David P. Kaczor, M-37, Investigators said the man was last seen around 10 p.m. on Thursday before adjusting his boat lines due to heavy winds near the Jet express dock. His body was recovered near the docks at Put-in-Bay early Friday afternoon.
- 06/27/2018 – Pulak Malik, M-21, The 21 year old man reportedly entered the water from a dock at South Bass Island State Park near Stone Cove.
- 06/27/2018 – James Fisher, M-80, In Marblehead, an 80 year old man was reported missing after not returning from a trip to clean his boat in Bay Point Marina. After approximately 20 minutes of searching the area, the Sandusky Fire Department’s dive team recovered the body of James Fisher, 80, beneath his boat.
- 06/30/2018 – Gary Matney*, M-40, A Northwood man was killed in a personal watercraft crash on Lake Erie near the lakeshore Reno Beach community in eastern Lucas County, authorities said.7:26 p.m. It’s about a half-mile northwest of the Anchor Pointe Marina. The cause of death was pending an autopsy scheduled for Monday. The incident remains under investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Watercraft [*may not be a drowning. may be from the collision].
- 07/01/2018 – William Paul Alex, M-62, Swimming – drowned while swimming in Lake Erie off North East, 11000 block of Old Lake Road in North East Township, on the lakefront, at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday after an unresponsive male was reported floating in the lake there. Trooper Cynthia Schick, spokeswoman for state police Troop E in Lawrence Park, said Alex was attending a family function in North East Township on Sunday when he entered the water and tried to swim to a large rock about 150 yards offshore. “He began to struggle and couldn’t make it back,” Schick said.
- 07/06/2018 – Shaud Howell, M-13, of Cleveland, went missing Friday evening from Edgewater Beach when he was swimming. Red Flags were posted when lifeguards were on duty. His body was recovered Sunday. Rescue crews had scoured the area up until 11:30 p.m. on Friday when they decided to suspend the search due to high waves and darkness. Lifeguards are on duty daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from now until the second Sunday in August, and then on weekends only through Labor Day.
- 07/21/2018 – Catherine “Caty” Winfield,* F-12, a swimming accident at Crescent Beach in Fort Erie, Canada. As Posted in “Fort Erie Neighborhood Watch, Rescue and Alerts” Facebook Group by Sharon Bowers – “There was a drowning in Crescent Beach on Saturday. A twelve-year-old girl from Buffalo, NY died. Obit in Buffalo News. Condolences to family. So sad.”
- 08/06/2018 – EUCLID, OH – John Doe*, M-?, a body recovered from the water near Arcadia Beach, Euclid, OH. It appears the body was in the water for “some time,” Houser said. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the person’s identity, he said. Investigators could not immediately determine whether any foul play was involved in the person’s death, due to the state of the body, Houser said.
- 08/10/2018 – ERIE, PA – Richard Miller, 35, of Karthaus, Pennsylvania in Clearfield County. The coroner says Miller was likely in the water for a few days before being found. A member of the Presque Isle Yacht Club made the discovery Friday morning. The cause of death has been determined as accidental, due to drowning. There was no sign of foul play.
- 08/11/2018 – CLEVELAND, OH – Jim Hix, M-75, of Claremore, was competing in the USA Triathlon when crews with the U.S. Coast Guard spotted his body floating in the lake. He was pulled on board a rescue boat and crews began to administer CPR. Hix was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. CLEVELAND, Ohio — The 75-year-old Navy dentist who drowned Saturday in Lake Erie while competing in the USA Triathlon died doing what he loved, his son said. “It’s a sad day but I’m taking some comfort in the fact that he lived a good life, all the way until the end,” Jason Hix said. “He died doing what he enjoyed. He died something he loved to do and was healthy until the end.”
- 08/15/2018 – HAMBURG, NY – Jeffrey Biehlerm*, M-61, a male kite surfer died Wednesday while surfing off of Hamburg Town Park at 4420 Lake Shore Road.
- 08/17/2018 – PUT-IN-BAY – John Doe, M-?, A man jumped into the water off of his boat and didn’t resurface Friday morning around 11:05 a.m. on the south side of South Bass Island.
- 08/20/2018 – GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE, State Park – Brandon Alves, M-20, of New Port Richey, Florida. About 4:25 p.m., He was trying to swim across the channel at the mouth of Geneva State Park Marina harbor and submerged.
- 08/21/2018 – ASHTABULA, OH – Micah Nugent, M-16, was swimming at Walnut Beach and was caught in dangerous 3- to 5-foot waves. He was pulled out of the water by the break wall. As soon as he was pulled out of the water, the fire department began administering CPR to him and he was transported to ACMC and then later transported to MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland. Unfortunately Micah succumbed to his drowning injuries on 08/22/2018.
- 08/25/2018 – MENTOR, OH – Robert Allen, M-46, he jumped into the water for a swim near the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Marina Saturday night, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Allen was reportedly wearing a life-jacket when he jumped into the water, but a person in the boat with Allen at the time lost sight of him.
- 08/26/2018 – CRYSTAL BEACH, ON – John Doe, M-50, SeaDoo accident near the Crystal Beach boat launch in front of The Palmwood, 3823 Terrace Ln, Crystal Beach, ON L0S 1B0, Canada., at about 5:20 p.m. Report of big waves during the incident.
- 08/31/2018 – VERMILION, OH – Boating & Fishing – John Doe, M-66, Boater’s body found in Lake Erie off Vermilion coast at noon approximately three miles north of the mouth of the Vermilion River. He was not wearing a life jacket. His unmanned boat washed up on the shore of Lake Erie near Cranberry Creek at about 9 p.m. Friday. The 23-foot Sea Ray showed signs of recent occupancy, a cellphone, wallet and handheld GPS, which was still operating. The man used his cellphone at about 1 p.m. Friday to call his wife. He told her that the fish weren’t biting, but he was going to stay out a while longer. Lake Erie waves on Friday afternoon were reported to be about 4 or 5 feet and the water temperature was about 75.
- 09/01/2018 – CLEVELAND, OH – John Doe, A body has been recovered from Lake Erie near Wildwood Park Marina in Cleveland. The body was found about 10 miles from the shore at about 1 p.m. and brought to the Wildwood Marina. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the man’s identity, and more details will be released as they become available.
- 09/02/2018 – TURTLE ISLAND, OHIO-MICHIGAN BORDER – Swimming – Joshua J. Snyder, The Coast Guard said that they believe a man may have jumped into the water to go swimming around 3:40 a.m. at Turtle Island, at the Ohio-Michigan border. Both Toledo and Detroit Coast Guard were on the scene along with Toledo Fire and Monroe County. Search suspended.
- 09/02/2018 – PRESQUE ISLE STATE PARK, Park, Horseshoe Pond – Fishing – Rzodkiewicz, M-59, of Erie. Two people on paddleboards found the body in the area of the inlet leading to the pond, about 5:30 Sunday afternoon. It is not known if he slipped, fell, and could not get out of the water, or whether he had a medical emergency. He was wearing fishing attire when found, and fishing supplies were nearby, along with his fishing license pinned to a baseball cap.
- 09/08/2018 – LONG POINT, ON – Jane Doe*, F-?, A woman’s body was discovered in Lake Erie Saturday morning at Long Point around 9 a.m.
- 09/08/2018 – ONTARIO, CA – Long Point – Jane Doe, F-45, Body recovered. Police are not releasing her name but after a post-mortem exam, they say no foul play is suspected.
- 10/20/2018 – CLEVELAND, OH – Stacy Paythress, M-47, body recovered near East 72nd, near the Intercity Yacht Club around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Coast Guard officials said the body appears to have been in the water for a while.
- 10/22/2018 – EASTLAKE, OH – John Doe, M-?, a body was found floating in the Chagrin River near The Deck Lounge on Lake Shore Boulevard at 7:00 p.m. Sunday night. It is believed that the man was a member of Chagrin River Yacht Club. This is the second dead body that has been discovered in Lake Erie this weekend.
- 11/25/2018 – AVON LAKE, OH – Jane Doe, F-?, Condition Unknown vehicle drove into the water at the Miller Road Park boat ramp, 33760 Lake Road. The woman was floating face down near the west end of the pier. She was pulled from the water by the officer and paramedic and they performed CPR on her. She was transported to Cleveland Clinic in Avon where she was then transported to MetroHealth in Cleveland by helicopter.
- 12/02/2018 – Mark F. Pelgrin, 65, was last seen Dec. 2 in his Evans residence in the Bluffs subdivision. His body was recovered off Woodlawn Beach Monday, 12/31/2018 by members of the Erie County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit, which was searching the shoreline via helicopter.
LAKE ONTARIO = 25
- 03/25/2018 – Body found in Lake Ontario – Hamilton Police said the body washed up near the foot of Glover Road in the Stoney Creek area and was discovered on the beach at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
- 05/09/2018 – Ryan Zinke, M-32, Police are asking for the public’s help in tracing the last movements of Ryan Zinke.
- 05/25/2018 Dominic Kardasiewicz, M-33, disappeared after an evening out with friends at a bar near Bloor Street West and Lansdowne Avenue. Investigators say he left on foot and stopped for a slice of pizza on his way home before disappearing. Body recovered from the water Sunday, June 3.
- 05/10/2018 – Zabia Afzal, F-30, last seen north of Toronto on May 10. But they say investigators received information that she may have been around Ashbridges Bay on Toronto’s Lake Ontario waterfront later that morning. Officers say local authorities found the body in Lake Ontario on Friday, June 15, 2018.
- 06/10/2018 – Partheepan Subramanium, M-27, an IT professional from Sri Lanka who also performs as DJ Brownsoul went overboard near Bluffer’s Park in the city’s east end. Still missing.
- 07/09/2018 – John Doe*, M-?, Man rushed to hospital without vital signs after being pulled from Lake Ontario in east end in the area of Martin Goodman Trail and Silver Birch Avenue. [Identification and cause of death and under investigation]
- 07/14/2018 – Matthew Kevin Brown, M-45, Body of male found in Lake Ontario off Burlington Pier. A post-mortem examination showed drowning caused his death
- 07/15/2018 – Ray Emery, M-35, former NHL goaltender whose career spanned more than a decade and included Chicago and the 2013 Blackhawks Stanley Cup drowned in Hamilton Harbour on Sunday, police said. Emery jumped off of a boat into the water near the Leander Boat Club to go swimming, and his friends called emergency services at about 6 a.m. Sunday when he didn’t resurface.
- 07/17/2018 – MISSING – Christopher Pinto*, M-50, His vessel was found drifting on the water about three kilometres south of the Whitby shoreline with a broken mast and a woman on board in distress. Investigators believe the 26-foot sailboat was being operated by Christopher Pinto, 50.
- 07/21/2018 – John Doe, M-30s, A witness at the scene told CP24 lifeguards entered the water quickly but it appeared undertow pulled the victim away from them at Kew-Balmy beach in the east end on Saturday afternoon. The man may have been under the water for as long as five minutes. RESCUE AND RESUSCITATION VIDEO The first video shows the lead up, no one really knew what was going on. The second shows the man being found. Look how far the longshore current moved down the beach from the buoy to the break wall.
- 07/28/2018 – Stacy Fishbein, 21, of Vaughan, Ontario near Olcott. The sheriff’s office did not disclose any details about the possible circumstances surrounding Fishbein’s death. The discovery remains under investigation and York Regional Police in Canada is the lead agency.
- 08/02/2018, Geoffrey Ray,M-74, Vehicle in Lake Ontario; one person reportedly trapped – Emergency crews responded to reports of one person being trapped inside a vehicle that fell into Lake Ontario on Thursday night. Officials arrived at the scene, located in the area of Lake Shore Boulevard East and Parliament Street, at around 10 p.m.
- 08/10/2018 – TORONTO, ON, Woodbine Beach – Kyle Howard-Muthulingam, M-16, Friday, 2.30 p.m., Woodbine Beach. A teenager is dead and a woman remains in hospital after five people needed to be pulled from the water at Woodbine Beach. Friday was breezy, with waves visible. An eyewitness said people were in the water near rocks and in an area where swimming is prohibited. Four Toronto Police Marine Unit boats, Toronto Fire staff, a Canadian Coast Guard rescue boat, an RCAF helicopter and 10 to 15 lifeguards were involved in the marine rescue effort. At one point, rescuers made a chain to walk through the murky water, searching carefully near the shoreline. The search continued for more than 90 minutes until it could be confirmed that all the missing people were accounted for.
- 08/25/2018 – ORLEANS COUNTY, NY – John Doe, M-?, two men were fishing about nine miles offshore Saturday morning when their boat took on five to seven foot waves, causing the boat to sink. At the time, both were wearing life jackets, but the rough waters caused the two to become separated in the water. They were in the water for approximately two hours. One man was recovered, unresponsive, and later died.
- 08/31/2018 – WILSON, NY – Daniel Saik, M-66, Deputies were called to the area of 4909 E. Lake Road about 9:10 a.m. and recovered a body on the shoreline. He was reported missing 08/30/2018.
- 09/02/2018 – TORONTO, CA – Ivan Bruno Ujevic was last seen at Hanlan’s Point around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Electric Island celebrations with some friends but fell ill and left early. Police say they received reports the 22-year-old either fell or jumped off the ferry shortly after departing the island. Ujevic says his brother fell into the water some 50 metres away from the shoreline. “It was night time, he could have been disoriented, injured – there’s so many different things that could have happened.” On 09/05/2018 his body was recovered.
- 09/04/2018 – ONTARIO, CA – COBOURG – Ada Didomizio, F-86, She had been last seen on Sept. 4 at her residence in the west end. Police issued a release on Friday night stating the family was concerned for her well-being. Her body was recovered Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m. along the shore of Lake Ontario at Monk Cove Park along Monk Street.
- 09/06/2018 – PICKERING, ON – Frenchman’s Bay – Kevin Wong, M-35, Police believe they have found body of missing fisherman Kevin Wong on 09/10/2018. Wong went missing on Sept. 6 while fishing for salmon around Frenchman’s Bay. That morning, Wong set out with another well-known GTA angler and guide, Shaun Rickard, to troll for salmon around Frenchman’s Bay. Conditions were calm, and as salmon species were preparing to journey into local rivers to spawn, the pair were not especially far out from shore, Wong’s good friend, Anthony Chen, told CBC Toronto on the weekend. Wong and Rickard were in separate boats, but were in communication throughout the morning. “At some point, Kevin stopped replying. And that’s when Shaun tried to look for him,” Chen said. Rickard and police eventually found Wong’s 17-foot aluminum fishing boat, unmanned with its trolling motor running, near the east bank of the mouth of Duffins Creek in Rotary Park in Ajax.
- 09/08/2018 – TORONTO, ON – John Doe, M-?, Body of swimmer pulled from Lake Ontario – A bystander said his friend witnessed the man go under near the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, near Queen Street East and Victoria Park Avenue, around 12:30 p.m. and called 911. “(The man) comes down every day … and he swims every day regardless of the weather conditions,” Anson said. “He spends hours out there. “I think it was just too strong for him.” [ This might be the same incident? 09/08/2018 – TORONTO – John Doe, M-?, Police say they have uncovered a body from Lake Ontario after a passerby spotted it in the water at Balmy Beach Park and Nursewood Road at 12:56 p.m. on Saturday.]
- 09/10/2018 – MISSISSAUGA, ON – Jane Doe, F-65, Police say that on Monday, September 10, 2018 at approximately 10:37 a.m. a deceased female was found in Lake Ontario in the area of J.C Saddington Park located at 53 Lake Street in the Mississauga. On September 14, 2018 the deceased 65-year-old female was identified.
- 09/16/2018 – TORONTO, ON – SCUBA DIVING – Humber Bay Park Marina near Park Lawn Rd. and Lake Shore Blvd – John Doe, M-40s, Lake Ontario has become popular for scuba diving, particularly with beginners, and licensed divers can often be seen in the water on warm nights. Two people were scuba diving Sunday evening, one did not resurface. The diver who resurfaced said they believed the missing diver would not have had much air left.
- 10/11/2018 – YATES, NY – John Doe, M-80, he was reported missing Thursday afternoon. He was last seen working on a dock near his cottage in the town of Yates, N.Y., 64 kilometres northwest of Rochester, N.Y. The sheriff’s department says it appears that he drowned in rough water conditions at the time.
- 11/04/2018 – OAKVILLE – John Doe, M-27, died after car crashed into Lake Ontario in the area of Maple Grove Dr. and Lakeshore Blvd., E. Driver charged in passenger’s death.
- 11/25/2018 – TORONTO – Jane Doe, F-30 to 40’s, the body of a woman who was found deceased on the shore of Lake Ontario near the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in the Victoria Park Avenue and Queen Street East area just before 7 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25. UPDATE 11/29/18: Toronto police the woman had been identified.
- 12/16/2018 –BURLINGTON – John Doe, ?-?, The body of a deceased person was found in Lake Ontario. The discovery was made near the left bridge in Hamilton Harbour, police report. The body has been removed and the investigation is ongoing. At this time, police believe the incident is not suspicious.
(Updated 12/31/2017, 2:25 p.m.)
88 Great Lakes Drownings in 2017
625 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010 (+/-)
GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics. In 2017, the GLSRP is tracking 88 Great Lakes drownings. Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 625 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, and 88 to date in 2017). Note: * = (+/-) Awaiting 100% confirmation of drowning.
LAKE MICHIGAN = 40 plus 4 critical or unknown condition
- 01/01/2017 – John Doe, M-50, Man dies after being rescued from Lake Michigan early New Year’s Day – A 50-year-old man died while swimming in Lake Michigan New Year’s Day, fire officials who retrieved the man from the water said. The man, whose name hasn’t been released, was wearing some type of rubberized suit, a Chicago Fire spokesman said. (SCUBA suit)
- 01/30/2017 – Kevin Marko, M-52, last seen jogging along Lake Michigan on Jan. 30. His body was recovered on 03/13/2017 and identified on 03/16/2017.
- 02/13/2017 – Ryan Richard Walsworth, M-50, of Mears – his truck was found parked next to Lake Michigan in Mason County the next day, authorities feared Walsworth had ended up in the lake. (Possible suicide?)
- 02/25/2017 – John Doe, M-?, man’s body was pulled from the lake near the 1000 block of North Lake Shore Drive, Oak Street Beach
- 04/17/2017 – Bryan A. Davia, 24, recovered near the 3200 block of Lake Shore Drive in Belmont Harbor
- 04/19/2017 – John Doe, M-? Body pulled from Lake Michigan at Ohio Street Beach
- 04/28/2017 – John Doe, M-21 died after the kayak capsized in Lake Michigan near Wisconsin’s Door County midday Friday about 100 yards from shore near the town of Sevastopol, about 12 miles northeast of Sturgeon Bay. He was not wearing a life jacket. The water temperature was about 43 degrees.
- 04/28/2017 – John Doe, M-29 died after the kayak capsized in Lake Michigan near Wisconsin’s Door County midday Friday about 100 yards from shore near the town of Sevastopol, about 12 miles northeast of Sturgeon Bay. He was not wearing a life jacket. The water temperature was about 43 degrees.
- 05/10/2017 – Donald Walter Schiele, M-65, fell off boat while fishing Wednesday, 300 yards off shore south of the White Lake Channel.
- 05/16/2017 – Tianna Hollinside, F-13, Chicago, near Rogers Park 7600 N. Eastlake Terrace on Lake Michigan
- 05/16/2017 – Juan Cornelia, M-24, Was in cold water distress in Montrose Harbor near the 500 block of West Montrose
- 05/25/2017 – John Doe, M-?, Unidentified body recovered from Whihala Beach, Whiting, IN (XRock 103.9)
- 06/04/2017 – Jane Doe, 40’s, went missing Sunday night after going into Lake Michigan at Montrose Beach around 9:30 p.m.
- 06/10/2017 – Jane Doe, F-25, pulled from Lake Michigan near Loyola Beach on the North Side at 11:13 p.m. in the 1200 block of Touhy Avenue, according to Chicago Police.
- 06/10/2017 – Ghulam Yahya, M-27, Holland State Park, Waves were 1-2 feet at the time, the water temperature was around 60 degrees and the yellow “caution” flags were flying. Bystanders who pulled the man from the water were performing CPR. He was then taken to the hospital, where he died
- 06/10/2017 – James Coleman, M-34, Milwaukee man has died after being pulled from Lake Michigan on Saturday night; Shortly before sunset at Klode Park in Whitefish Bay. The water was unbearably cold.
- 06/12/2017 – John Doe, M-18, Canoe overturned in West Grand Traverse Bay across from 12068 South West Bay Shore Drive.
- 07/03/2017 – James Hammond, M-31, Died Trying to Rescue His Nephew in Water Near 63rd Street Beach
- 07/08/2017 – Johnathan Diaz, M- 22, the man jumped into the water near the Shedd Aquarium at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The victim was under water for 15 minutes, and was later found unresponsive during a rescue by the Fire Department and lifeguards. The man was taken to Northwestern Hospital in serious-to-critical condition, and was pronounced dead.
- 07/18/2017 – Sareyi Ahmed, M-14, drowned at Atwater beach in Shorewood — the boy jumped off a break wall just north of the public beach area at the park in the 4000 block of N. Lake Drive.
- 07/20/2017 – Michael Kandel, M-28 – According to the U.S. Coast Guard report, the incident happened as the boat, a Boston Whaler, experienced a mechanical failure. One of the people on board went into the water to see if he could determine what the problem was and possibly fix it. A short time later, the person in the water began to experience problems and a second man, who took a child-sized life jacket with him, also went into the water in an attempt to assist the first man. As the two men were in the water, the boat drifted away and ultimately ended up near shore and the people remaining on the boat lost sight of the men in the water.
- 07/29/2017 – Christopher Charnow, M-28, of Royal Oak, Michigan, died while swimming near a beach on the city’s North Side. Authorities were called about 3:45 a.m. to Oak Street Beach near the 1000 block of North Lake Shore Drive. A woman was able to get out of the water on her own, but a 28-year-old man was lost in crashing waves.
- 07/29/2017 – Jeremy Kennedy, M-26, of Chicago fell from a boat on the South Side. He was getting off a boat early Saturday in the area of Jackson Park Beach near the 5900 block of South Lake Shore Drive when he fell in the water
- 07/30/2017 – Amari Donell Griffin-Brewer, M-16, RACINE — A 16-year-old Racine boy drowned late Sunday afternoon in Lake Michigan while swimming off of Zoo Beach. The teen had been swimming with friends near a sandbar when his girlfriend saw him go under and not resurface. “The kids were swimming out 50 to 60 feet to the sandbar where it was shallower — about waist-deep — and as they were returning to shore the young man went under. His girlfriend saw him go under and then resurface. And then she saw him go under again and he did not resurface.” “The water was flat and calm, so it wasn’t due the (surface motion of the water) or anything like that. Apparently he could swim,” Payne said. “He may have just taken on a gulp of water, and that’s how drownings occur.”
- 08/01/2017 – Matthew Ramirez, M-4 – At Rest 08/05/2017, Harbor County News – 4-year-old boy pulled from Lake Michigan at Warren Dunes State Park. The preliminary investigation revealed several children were playing in the water and family members believed he had exited the water and returned to the beach with other family members.
- 08/02/2017 – David O’Shaughnessy, M-? – CHICAGO – unreported SCUBA death off the shipwreck of the Wells Burt, part of a charter diver operation. Reported that CPR was given by Coast Guard and taken to Evanston from Wilmette Harbor. According to Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, the diver, David O’Shaughnessy, died of asphyxia. Listed as an accidental drowning. 08/03/2017 Report: The Coast Guard and Chicago Police Marine units responded to an incident off Wilmette last night in which a scuba diver died. The diver was with a commercial dive group on the boat the “Aquatica,” operated by Windy City Diving, according to the Coast Guard. They were exploring the largely-intact wreck of the 200-foot ship the Wells Burt that went down in a storm in 1883 about 3-miles off-shore in about 40-feet of water. The Coast Guard and CPD both report they responded to a call of a “diver in distress.” It was a night-time dive and the incident was reported to have occurred at about 8 p.m. The Coast Guard says an experienced diver, 45-year-old male, was coming out of the water on a ladder and was having a tough time and then dropped back into the lake. A mayday was called and divers on the boat were able to locate the man and get him on-board. The Coast Guard dropped two rescue divers onto the boat and they assisted with CPR and a defibrillator. CPD took over and brought the man to shore in Evanston, along with Coast Guard personnel assisting on the way. The diver, whose identity has not yet been released, was taken to Northshore Evanston Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
- 08/05/2017 – Kaitlynn Boswinkle, 24, at Marquette Park, Gary, IN – around 7:30 a.m. The three friends exited the water for a short time before Boswinkle returned to the water and swam to a buoy about 200 feet from shore. The two friends then lost sight of Boswinkle and began to look for her. After struggling to fight 5 foot waves and a strong current, they left the water and called 911. In a Facebook post, Gary police said the beach was closed at the time, and no lifeguards were on duty. High wave warnings have now been issued for all Gary beaches. No swimming is allowed.
- 05/07/2017 – John Doe, M-18, at North Pier in Kenosha. The victim was swimming with a friend at the time and was trying to reach the break wall when harbor currents proved too much for him.
- 08/13/2017 – Jane Doe, F-?, Woman pulled from Lake Michigan at McKinley Marina, taken to hospital – unresponsive.
- 08/19/2017 – Joseph D. Quagliano, M-20, Quagliano was reported missing Saturday night. He was believed to have been kayaking from Nicolet Bay to Horseshoe Island and expected to return at 4 pm. His vehicle was located at a nearby boat ramp with his cellphone and a life jacket inside. A total of three helicopters aided in the search using infrared cameras overnight to search for a heat signature.
- 08/28/2017 – Christopher J. Melik, M-48, The investigation is ongoing but authorities do not believe that Melik’s death is suspicious in nature at this time.
- 08/30/2017 – JC Lindsey , M-18, A swimmer who struggled and went underwater in Lake Michigan off Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park in Winthrop Harbor was pronounced dead at a local hospital Wednesday afternoon, according to the Lake County coroner’s office. The park’s superintendent, Saki Villalobos, said the waters were calm. There are no lifeguards at the state park.
- 08/31/2017 – John Doe, M-55, Just before 12:45 a.m. Thursday, a man and a woman went into Lake Michigan to swim in an area just south of the Ardmore Hollywood Beach. The woman got out of the water, but she noticed the man was struggling in the water. About 2:15 a.m., divers called off the search for the man because of the water conditions, 3-6 foot waves, according to the Chicago Fire Department. The man had not been found as of early Thursday.
- 09/01/2017 – John Doe, M-?, Man’s Body Pulled From Lake At 31st Street Beach, Chicago.
- 09/13/2017* – Paul Hamilton of Englewood, M-?, Body recovered in Diversy Harbor near North Lake Shore Drive and Diversey Parkway
- 09/17/2017 – Nathan Jon Marcus, M-23, of Holland, Udentified as victim of an apparent drowning Sunday, Sept. 17, in Lake Michigan near Tunnel Park. Marcus was riding a personal watercraft around 150 yards from shore, headed south toward the piers at Holland State Park, when he leaned over and fell into the water. A witness reported that the victim, wearing a floatation device, was not moving. A sheriff’s Marine Unit deputy saw the victim face down. The deputy got into the water, turned Marcus over, and swam him to shore to first responders.
- 09/24/2017 – Alex Lopez, M-21, of Plainfield, Illinois drowned while kayaking Sunday. Lopez was kayaking with two friends approximately 150 yards offshore from Porter Beach in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore when their kayaks capsized shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday. Lopez was not wearing a life vest. He went under the surface of the water and did not return. His two friends were wearing life jackets and were able to stay afloat and summon help.
- 09/24/2017 – Robert Amenitsch, M-66, of Niles, Illinois was being towed on a floating raft at a very low speed behind a boat operated by his son died in apparent drowning. While being pulled slowly, Amenitsch rolled on his back and into the water near the shoreline. Michael, the boat operator, immediately turned the vessel around and found his father unresponsive.
- 09/24/2017 – Raymundo Zambrano, M-49, of West Chicago, Illinois died after being found in Lake Michigan on Chicago’s North Side near Montrose Beach near the 4400 block of North Lake Shore Drive. An autopsy Monday showed he drowned, and ruled his death an accident.
- 10/10/2017 – Daniel Mehedinti, M-82, recovered near Montrose Beach. Waves and dangerous currents present.
Lake Michigan Critical or Unknown Condition = 4
- 07/04/2017 – Child pulled from water near 800 block of Pershing Park Drive, Racine, WI. Child reportedly fell off the rocks and was under water. Child transferred to Children’s Hospital. No further information.
- 07/06/2017 – Man Reported submerging at Lake Street Beach, Gary, IN – Gary police were notified about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday of a male swimmer at Lake Street Beach who was past the buoys and struggling. A Gary police officer on beach patrol reported he had lost sight of the swimmer
- 07/07/2017 – Rescuers end search for possible drowning victim in South Haven
- 10/04/2017 – John Doe*, M-24, he was taken from the lake about 10 minutes later, critical condition, near the Adler Planetarium, the 900 block of East Solidarity Drive. The man was taken to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in critical condition, according to police.
LAKE SUPERIOR = 9
- 08/02/2017 – Dennis D Kamento, M-73, was swimming at the beach off of Whitefish Point Rd at Laughing White Fish Point when he was pulled in by an undertow. The Alger County Sheriff’s Office would like to warn all beach goers to use extreme caution when swimming in Lake Superior when the wind and wave conditions are strong.
- 08/10/2017 – John Doe, M-38, Father, Daughter Drown in Lake Superior in Duluth – a girl reported that her father, 38, and young sister, 10, had disappeared while swimming in the lake near the Park Point Beach House. High waves and dangerous currents a factor. Authorities say they were from Wisconsin.
- 08/10/2017 – Jane Doe, F-10, Father, Daughter Drown in Lake Superior in Duluth – a girl reported that her father, 38, and young sister, 10, had disappeared while swimming in the lake near the Park Point Beach House. High waves and dangerous currents a factor. Authorities say they were from Wisconsin.
- 08/13/2017 – Robert Louis, M-59, Body recovered near the site of the boat accident near Au Train Island a short distance off shore between Marquette and Munising. A large wave swamped a pontoon boat Sunday evening, sending all seven occupants overboard. Six of the occupants were rescued
- 08/30/2017 – Stanley Szczytko, M-68, was trying to untangle a line to the jib sail of the 42-foot boat Wednesday afternoon near Washburn. When the line was freed he was pulled overboard and wasn’t wearing a life jacket.
- 09/24/2017 – Aaron Timmerman*, M-42, of New Hope, Minnesota, was diving Saturday afternoon just north of Split Rock Lighthouse up the North Shore at the popular sight of the Madeira shipwreck. According to the sheriff’s office, witnesses had seen Timmerman surface and call for help, but no one was able to reach him before he went underwater. Two members of the group located him unresponsive on the bottom of the lake. The cause of death remains under investigation.
- 10/24/2017 – Robert Anderson, M-53, swept into the Lake by large waves near black rocks at Presque Ilse Park in Marquette. Body recovered 11/22/2017.
- 10/24/2017 – Sarah Hall, F-37, swept into the Lake by large waves near black rocks at Presque Ilse Park in Marquette.
- 11/26/2017 – Derek S. Hansen*, M-45, of Minnetonka, was found near Split Rock Lighthouse early Saturday. He apparently drowned but added that further details about his death remain under investigation and autopsy results were pending.
LAKE HURON = 7
- 05/31/2017 – Todd Walker, M-37 – On May 31, 2017 at 2:27 p.m., the South Bruce OPP received a missing person report on 37-year-old Walker of Kincardine who was last seen on Campbell Avenue in Kincardine at 11:45 p.m. on May 30, 2017.
- 06/11/2017 – Curt Richard Vandevorde, M-61, of Grosse Pointe Farms, on Sunday jumped from the raft he was floating on into Lake Huron. The apparent drowning occurred in the waters off the 3900 block of North US-23 in AuSable Township
- 07/08/2017 – John Doe, M-20’s from Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, wave swells exceeding 2 metres, victim was in an inflatable boat near the mouth of the Nottawasaga River, not wearing lifejackets, when it overturned amid rough water conditions. They were renting a cottage in the area.
- 07/08/2017 – John Doe, M-20’s from Caledon, Wasaga Beach, wave swells exceeding 2 metres, victim was in an inflatable boat near the mouth of the Nottawasaga River, not wearing lifejackets, when it overturned amid rough water conditions. They were renting a cottage in the area.
- 07/08/2017 – Dennis Bowman M-39, paddleboarding without a life-jacket when he fell into the water at Sauble Beach on the Saugeen First Nation, Owen Sound, Ont.
- 07/15/2017 – Curtis Herbon, M-22, was found about an eighth of a mile offshore, south of Lighthouse County Park. He apparently attempted to swap kayaks with his friend , causing them to both fall in the lake. His friend was able to swim to shore. Neither were wearing life jackets.
- 09/20/2017 – Yvonne Martin*, F-64, The body of a missing Kincardine woman was found in Lake Huron along the Kincardine shoreline Saturday 09/23/2017. Martin had been missing since late Wednesday night when she went to run some errands about 9:40 p.m. and failed to return to her Baird Street home. Police received a missing person report later that night.
LAKE ERIE = 16
- 03/01/2017 – John Peters Jr. (Awaiting 100% ID), M-91, of Trumbull County, Ohio, whom authorities suspect might have fallen into Presque Isle Bay after his Dodge Caravan was found on East Dobbins Landing in Erie shortly before 2:30 a.m. on March 1. Last seen Feb 28. Body Recovered 03/31/2017
- 04/01/2017 – Jane Doe, F-?, body was recovered near West Sister Island, which is about 40 miles east of Toledo.
- 04/08/2017 – Jill Trowbridge, F-52, was driving south on Summit Street in Erie Township when her car ran off the road for unknown reasons, then re-entered the road and ran off the road crashing into North Maumee Bay.
- 05/14/2017 – Tod Nierodzik, M-57, may have drowned near the Lakeside Yacht Club on North Marginal Road
- 05/27/2017 – John Doe, M-?, East Lake, OH. Boating accident behind Village Hall. The 17’ boat may have hit a breakwall. No lifejackets
- 05/28/2017 – Juan Carlos Alfaro, M-25, canoe capsized while fishing on Lake Erie east of County Road 45 in Kingsville. Friends on shore saw his canoe capsize. He was “believed to a non-swimmer” and he wasn’t wearing a life jacket.
- 06/14/2017 – John Doe, M-50, vacationing at a resort near Port Colborne, Ont. was 180 metres from shore at the Sherkston Shores Beach Resort. Fell from an inflatable raft or “lounger”. He was out alone and police believe he went out too far and lost control. Early reports suggest the man went out alone in the small craft, but was spotted in distress later. He was last seen by witnesses trying to swim towards shore before they lost sight of him. The lounger was found several hundred meters from where the man was last seen.
- 07/04/2017 – Christopher Recznik, M-20, At around 8:30 p.m., authorities confirmed they found the body of the missing 20-year-old man near a break wall in Century Park in Lorain County Lake Erie. He was overcome by waves, which were 2 to 3 feet. Dangerous Currents. No Lifeguards.
- 07/23/2017 – Jyventa Harris,M-21, Two men were on an inflatable watercraft on the lake when they began to struggle at the Beachdale Association, a private beach club at the end of Beachdale Drive, off of Lake Road near the Veterans’ Memorial Park. Authorities believe the men entered the water at Veterans Park, which is right next door. Neither of the men were wearing life vests. One man made it to shore. One drowned.
- 08/08/2017 – Tyson Koehn, M-41, of Kingsville was operating a small vessel with four children onboard. One of the children was struggling while swimming, so Koehn got in the water to help. That’s when Koehn began struggling to swim himself and went under the water. The four children were rescued by a passing vessel and a person onshore who swam out to help, the OPP say.
- 08/29/2017 – Larry Love*, M-56, died about 5 a.m. Tuesday, some 20 hours after his boat capsized, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Tad Drozdowski said. Cause of death not yet determined.
- 09/04/2017 – John Doe, M-?, Coast Guard suspends search for missing swimmer in Lake Erie near Cleveland. He was swimming in the water near a boat when he was hit by a large wave and didn’t resurface. Authorities said he wasn’t wearing a life jacket.
- 09/11/2017 – Peter John Jessop*, M-53, Results from an autopsy conducted in Hamilton Tuesday reveal Jessop’s death wasn’t suspicious. No foul play is suspected, police said. Police are asking the public to help find a missing orange kayak.
- 09/12/2017 John Doe*, M-?, man’s body was recovered from Lake Erie near Long Point Monday afternoon. Police say a boater came across the body while out on Lake Erie, near Pottahawk Point northwest of Long Point National Wildlife area.
- 10/31/2017 – Salvatore Tassone, M-56, went missing while fishing at the Port Maitland pier. It is believed he had fallen into the lake. Witnesses reported the weather was windy and the water choppy.
- 12/08/2017 – Christine A. Spohn*, F-39, Her body was found along the Lake Erie shoreline near Lake Erie Community Park in Girard Township. Police said there were no signs of foul play and nothing suspicious about the death. A ruling on the cause of death is pending further investigation by the coroner’s office, authorities said.
LAKE ONTARIO = 16
- 01/10/2017 – Cameron Bailie*, M-?, Missing 01/10/2017. Body recovered 06/17/2017 from Lake Ontario near the Oshawa shoreline 300 to 400 feet from shore.
- 02/18/2017 – John Doe, M-?, Toronto Police is investigating after a body was pulled from Lake Ontario Saturday near Algonquin Island.
- 03/24/2017 – John Doe, M-38, Emergency crews were called to the waterfront near Lower Jarvis Street and Queens Quay East at 11:18 a.m. March 24 for a report of a body in the water. Initial Report.
- 04/21/2017 – David Ramphalie, M-38, boating.
- 05/15/2017 – John Doe, M-30’s, Sugar Beach near Dockside Drive and Lower Jarvis Street
- 06/01/2017 – John Doe, M-?, boat capsized on Lake Ontario between Amherst Island and Grape Island in Loyalist Township. Police say there were two men onboard the vessel, but only one made it back to shore. They say the body of the other man was found Sunday 06/02/2017 near Amherst Island.
- 06/13/2017 – John Doe*, M-?, body recovered roughly a mile off of Youngstown.
- 06/25/2017 – Lorenz Greenwood Coinco, M-18, cliff diving and/or pulled into the water by a larger wave, 4-5’, on Sunday at Robert Wehle State Park.
- 06/25/2017 – Andrew Stevenson, M-14, cliff diving and/or pulled into the water by a larger wave, 4-5’, on Sunday at Robert Wehle State Park.
- 07/03/2017 – John Doe*, M-51, was on a Sea-Doo jet boat with two children and another man just after 4 p.m. on Sunday. He fell into the water when the jet boat made a short turn in choppy water near the Burlington Lift Bridge.
- 07/08/2017 – John Doe, M-?, Toronto – Body recovered from Ashbridges Bay – Crews were called around 7a.m., Saturday morning to the area of Coxwell Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard East at Ashbridges Bay. The body appeared to have been in the water for a while.
- 07/09/2017 – Yvonne Kraus, F-64, a family was out kayaking and swimming. When some children had trouble in the water, adults went in after them and Kraus did not return. She was caught by the currents while swimming in a pond that spills into the lake.
- 08/10/2017 – Jane Doe*, F-55 to 70, recovered from the water in the area of Humber Bay Shores Park, Toronto.
- 08/11/2017 – John Doe*, M-?, a man’s body was pulled from the water near the Argonaut Rowing Club on Friday morning in the Martin Goodman Trail and Oarsman Dr. area.
- 09/04/2017 – Jacob McCormick, M-21 – 2 missing kayakers make it back alive, 1 found dead. After a kayak capsized, he held onto another kayak while Jacob paddled away for help. The 2 made it back to shore. Jacob was found deceased.
- 09/23/2017 – Mark Deiter, M-56, submerged when the boat he was fishing in began to take on water while fishing at Sunset Bay Park in the Town of Scriba. Two passengers jumped from the boat, but 56 year-old Mark Deiter was still on it when it went completely underwater. The two passengers that jumped off the boat used floatation devices and a cooler to float. The body, whom authorities believe to be Deiter, was found still in the boat in about 100 feet of water.
Lake Ontario Critical or Unknown Condition
- 04/02/2017– Jane Doe, F-60, Woman in critical condition after being pulled from Lake Ontario in Scarborough
99 Great Lakes Drownings to date;
Plus 6 last listed in Critical Condition
(Last updated 04/28/2017)
LAKE MICHIGAN = 46 Plus 6 listed in Critical Condition
- 02/19/2016 – Thalia Rodriguez, F-20, Fell or blown off Wihala Beach Pier, Whiting, IN
- 02/24/2016* – Jessica Suarez*, F-21, was reported missing after she left her home about 6 a.m. on Feb. 24 in the 6100 block of North Talman, Chicago to go jogging and never returned, according to police. Her car was later found unoccupied and parked at 5100 N. Simmons Dr. on the lakefront. Her body was recovered in Lake Michigan 04/24/2016.
- 02/25/2016 – Ivan Echevarria, M-18, washed off pier at Diversey Harbor, Chicago, IL (Recovered 04/04/2016)
- 03/17/2016 – Marcus Beilman, M-27, kayaking in Lake Michigan off the shore of Port Washington
- 03/17/2016 – John Doe*, M-?, he was found wearing a life jacket and clinging to rocks in Lake Michigan near Rainbow Beach on Chicago’s South Side
- 04/22/2016 – Ambrose Monye*, M-28, was found in the water near the 5400 block of South Lake Shore Drive on May 8. He was last seen April 22 in the area of 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue.
- 05/05/2016 – John Doe*, M-35, Body of 35 year old Asian male recovered near Montrose Harbor.
- 06/10/2015 – John Doe*, M-?, Chicago, A man’s body was pulled from Lake Michigan early Friday morning near Montrose Harbor
- 06/11/2016 – Travonne Shannon, M-17, St. Joseph, MI, Silver Beach Pier Jump.
- 06/13/2016 – Tomasz I. Dratwa*, M-28, body pulled a few blocks south of Oak Street Beach around 11:00 a.m.
- 06/17/2016 – Ryan Klingensmith, M-23, According to video at the hyperlink, he was playing Beer Pong on the boat. The ping pong ball went into the water. He dove in after it and did not resurface.
- 06/17/2017 – John Doe*, CHICAGO – A body was pulled out of Lake Michigan near the Gold Coast on Friday morning near the 1800 block of North Lake Shore Drive
- 06/19/2016 – Riley Hoeksema, M-16, boating accident, Holland, MI. The Zodiac-style inflatable hull boat made a sudden turn, causing the two occupants of the boat to be thrown from the boat into the water
- 06/19/2016 – John Doe*, A body was pulled from Lake Michigan Sunday afternoon near Loyola Beach in the North Side Rogers Park neighborhood just after 3 p.m. near the 1000 block of West Pratt
- 06/20/2016 – John Doe*, Body Recovered – A “badly decomposed” body of a man was pulled from Lake Michigan near North Pier, Kenosha, WI, Monday afternoon. The name, age and race of the man remained unknown Monday night.
- 06/26/2016 – Andrew John Vache, M-33, kayaking on Lake Michigan, near the Portage Lake harbor, when his kayak turned over. Vache was not wearing a personal flotation device and the waves in Lake Michigan were approximately two feet high during the time of the incident.
- 06/24/016 – John Doe, M-Teen, Authorities believe the teen went missing in the water after trying to swim across the Waukegan channel with friends
- 07/09/2016 – Sheldon Benson, M-23, of Coopersville was kayaking in Grand Haven
- 07/09/2016 – Kyle Reibly, M-26, Well Street Beach, Gary, IN, would-be rescuer
- 07/09/2016 – David Alden II, M-37, Well Street Beach, Gary, IN, would-be rescuer
- 07/12/2016 – Markius Woods,, M-32, distressed swimmer, dies near the 31st Street Beach, Chicago, IL
- 07/12/2016 – David VanVertloo, 66, Illinois man drown at Michigan City’s Washington Park
- 07/24/2016 – John Doe, M-?, An adult male was seen jumping into the lake about 7 a.m. at Diversey Harbor, police said. People nearby saw the man jump and pulled him from the water.
- 08/04/2016 – Kevin Thomas Ketchum, M-53, of Shelby Township, passed away August, 17, 2016. He had rescued two boys from drowning in Lake Michigan – Two young boys having difficulty in the high waves. He went into the water to try and help his children. He was transported to Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital and then air lifted to U.P. Health System Marquette in critical condition. The family was vacationing in the area at the time of the incident.
- 08/07/2016 – Carlos Juan Penaco, M-26, Swimmer dies after being pulled from Montrose Harbor. He was struggling in the water.
- 08/08/2016 – Mensha Travis, M-14, drowned while swimming. Indiana’s DNR says two boys had to be pulled from Lake Michigan Monday night. The DNR says the boys were unsupervised at the pier at Washington Park around 6:11 p.m.
- 08/11/2016 – Jamirion Gomez, 13, from Lansing, MI was swimming with three cousins in the water when suddenly he disappeared. Fighting for his life after drowning. Passed away 08/20/2016
- 08/13/2016 – John Kevin Trout Lank, M-29, was swimming Saturday at Indiana Dunes State Park with a group of people just before 8 p.m. He was hit by a wave, fell down and never got back up again. A wave brought him back to shore.The cause of death was drowning and alcohol was involved
- 08/14/2016 – Brian Waslusky, M-53, Fishing – jumped into Lake Michigan chasing a large fish and net near the Little Sable Point Lighthouse.
- 08/14/2016 – Steve Bruce, M-62, Missing – Fishing – jumped into Lake Michigan chasing a large fish and net near the Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Body recovered 08/17/2016
- 08/16/2016 – Alexander Fortis, M- 27, Man dies after being pulled from Lake Michigan near Diversey Harbor – The man was with a group of people, jumped into the water but did not emerge about 3:30 p.m. in the 2700 block of North Lake Shore Drive
- 08/21/2016 – Kenneth Phillips, M-60, Grand Haven-area man drowns in Lake Michigan near the north pier of Pigeon Lake. The man and his brother were body surfing the waves near a sandbar when one of the two began to struggle, police say. The man’s brother tried to swim the two back to shore, but a rip current made it hard to swim back.
- 08/29/2016 – Ricardo Salvana, M-24, CHICAGO – Man dies after being pulled from Lake Michigan on North Side – 300 block of East Montrose Harbor Drive, in the water about 100 yards from the lighthouse off Montrose Beach
- 08/31/2016 – Vincent Green, M-14, Swimming at Holland State Park, Holland, MI. Waves and dangerous currents.
- 08/31/2016 – Chris Mimis, 17, M-17, Swimming at Holland State Park, Holland, MI. Waves and dangerous currents. Mimis’ family traveled to the area from Chicago
- 09/03/2016 – Tom Petruszak, M-?, missing boater off Little Bay De Noc near Gladstone, a large wave struck their boat and caused one of the men to fall into the water. Another man jumped in, attempting to rescue the person in the water. A passerby, James Plouff, rescued one of the men. However, the other person was not located, and has still not been found. None of the men were wearing lifejackets.
- 09/05/2016 – Tyler Spink, M-21, Last seen Monday around 8:50 p.m. in Platte Bay by two fisherman who heard screams and found two capsized kayaks. Fishermen were able to pull one of the kayakers to their boat. We are told both kayaks have been recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard. RECOVERED – On 07/19/2018 Tyler Spink was recovered from Lake Michigan by Volunteers with Bruce’s Legacy.
- 09/11/2016 – Francis Knipp, M-75, believed drowned off Manitowoc’s Red Arrow beach when his ten foot sailboat capsized about 500 yards-from shore on Sunday. The identity of man on board has not been released. (Recovered 09/27/2016)
- 09/12/2016 – Timothy Twa, M-67, The body of a man was found on the beach at Muskegon’s Kruse Park Tuesday morning, and public safety officials said it is believed he entered the water in Norton Shores.
- 09/16/2016 – Gregory Froede, M-39, law enforcement agencies are investigating a report of a man who fell or jumped overboard from a boat in Lake Michigan north of Beaver Island. Many details of the situation remain unclear – officials contacted the Coast Guard at about 9:30 p.m. Friday regarding a report of a 40-year-old man who had jumped overboard from a recreational boat about 2-3 nautical miles north of Hog Island in the Beaver Island and had not returned to the boat. The man had said he wanted to go swimming just before jumping overboard and that he was not wearing a personal floatation device. (Body Recovered 10/10/2016)
- 09/19/2016 – Hannah Harris, F-10, from Lansing — Girl falls from paddle board, drowns in Lake Michigan at Charles Mears State Park and Pentwater Pier Monday, around 3:30 p.m. She was not wearing a life jacket, the sheriff’s office said.
- 09/25/2016 – Jonah Berele, M-27, CHICAGO (WLS) — A man died Sunday after being rescued from Lake Michigan near Leone Beach Park on Chicago’s far North Side at 2:15 p.m. A kayaker pulled the victim out of the water and performed CPR before emergency personnel were on the scene.
- 10/05/2016 – John Doe, M-59, Dies After Crashing SUV Into Jackson Park Harbor — CHICAGO (CBS) — A 59-year-old man died Wednesday morning after driving his SUV into Jackson Park Harbor.
- 10/17/2016 – John Doe, M-?, A person died after being pulled out of Lake Michigan on Saturday afternoon on the North Side about 100 yards from Montrose Harbor at 601 W. Montrose Ave.
- 10/19/2016 – John Doe, M-25, A man died Wednesday morning after being pulled from the water of Jackson Park Harbor off the 6500 block of South Promontory Drive around 4:45 a.m.
- 11/07/2016 – Robert Umentum III, M-43, There was a report of someone yelling for help along the shoreline just after 3 a.m. Monday. He was recovered from Lake Michigan off Kewaunee. The man was apparently fishing and fell into the water, police say. Fishing tackle and personal belongings were seen in the water.
LAKE MICHIGAN 6 Last Listed in CRITICAL CONDITION
- 07/10/2016 – John Doe, M-15, Critical Condition – A 15-year-old Michigan City boy is in critical condition after drowning in Lake Michigan near the pier, about 200 feet off the shores of Washington Park Beach. The Coast Guard says waves were about 1 to 2 feet high when he went under. (As of 08/10/2016 Remains on life support)
- 07/11/2016 – Lonely Vang, M-14, Critical Condition, pulled from Lake Michigan by Sheboygan police at General King Park, under water for 10 minutes, remains a patient at the Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee
- 08/06/2016 – John Doe, M-Teen, Critical Condition – Four children rescued from Lake Michigan – 1 of them airlifted to South Bend in Critical Condition – they were part of a a church group from Chicago visiting Washington Park. Several people, including a teen girl from Mokena, Illinois, ran into the water to try and rescue them. One of the boys pulled her underwater. (As of 08/10/2016 Remains on life support)
- 08/21/2016 – John Doe, M-60, Bystanders pull man from Lake Michigan after the man had trouble in the water Sunday. The incident happened about 11:40 a.m. in the 3500 block of North Lake Shore Drive near Belmont Harbor. He’s listed in serious to critical condition.
- 09/24/2016 – Jane Doe, F-67, who fell into Lake Michigan while walking on a pier near the boat ramp at 1701 Sheridan Rd., was rescued and taken to a hospital in critical condition Saturday in Evanston.
- 10/15/2016 – John Doe, M-?, Person who was pulled from Lake Michigan about 100 feet from shore near Montrose Avenue in Chicago on Saturday afternoon was in critical condition
LAKE SUPERIOR = 9
- 04/11/2016 Richard C. Blanford*, M-?, of Potterville, Michigan. On April 11th, 2016, rangers at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore found a vehicle abandoned in the Miners Castle overlook parking lot.
- 06/11/2016 – Kaylilyn Tansey, F-22, Drowned struggling in the water at Little Presque Isle
- 06/11/2016 – Justin Schroepfer, M-24, Drowned struggling in the water at Little Presque Isle
- 08/04/2016 – Dewayne Shreve, M-25, A small boat capsized in Havilland Bay at the east end of Lake Superior last Thursday – set out in a 12-foot aluminum boat powered by a six-horsepower engine at 4 p.m., but the pair ran into trouble about 250 feet from shore. The boat contained life jackets, but neither man was wearing one when they began to swim to shore. A 23-year-old man managed to make it safely to shore around 5:15 p.m., but Shreve had disappeared from sight in the water.
- 08/10/2016 – Wasaysee Mayotte, M-15, playing in the waves off of Stockton Island at Julian Bay on Wednesday afternoon when currents pulled him into deep water.
- 09/17/2016 Keith Karvonen, M-61 of Atlantic Mine, reported missing Saturday when they didn’t return from an afternoon of Lake Trout fishing. Authorities say the trio set out on a 16-foot boat from Portage Entry in the Chassell area. (Recovered 10/02/2016)
- 09/17/2016 – Steven Chartre, M-43 of Ishpeming, reported missing Saturday when they didn’t return from an afternoon of Lake Trout fishing. Authorities say the trio set out on a 16-foot boat from Portage Entry in the Chassell area. (Recovered 10/02/2016)
- 09/17/2016 – Ethan Chartre, M-9 of Ishpeming, reported missing Saturday when they didn’t return from an afternoon of Lake Trout fishing. Authorities say the trio set out on a 16-foot boat from Portage Entry in the Chassell area. (Recovered 10/02/2016)
- 10/22/2016 – Allyson Marie Motylinski-Jenkins, F-42, was found around 11:15 a.m. near the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Chippewa County.
LAKE HURON = 12
- 01/02/2016 – John Doe, M-?, pick-up truck drove off Kincardine Harbour’s north pier. Pier may have been icy.
- 05/04/2016* – Peter James “Jim” Armstrong, 53, went missing from his mother’s Southampton home the evening of March 9. Recovered at Lake Huron shoreline at MacGregor Point Provincial Park.
- 07/03/2016 – Christopher Peterson, M-42, an Ann Arbor area man drowned Sunday afternoon while kayaking off Huron County’s Point Aux Barques – Other boaters in the area rescued the victim’s wife and two children.
- 07/03/2016 – Yousif Shamon, M-67, a Sterling Heights man died after swimming in Lake Huron in Port Huron Monday
- 07/23/2016 – Richard Castillo, M-67, Went missing while diving near a shipwreck.
- 07/23/2016 – Bradley Liani, M-28, was pronounced dead after bystanders got him out of the water around 1 p.m. Saturday at a Saugeen First Nation beach, just north of Southampton. “I don’t understand, he did know how to swim,” Cathy said Monday, adding that Bradley took swimming lessons as a child and loved going to the beach with his friends.
- 08/03/2016 – Erik Foreman, M-47, died while diving at a shipwreck in Lake Huron. His death is the second diving death in Lake Huron in the last two weeks. The body of a Detroit man was recovered from the lake after he failed to surface during a shipwreck-diving trip in late July.
- 08/18/2016 – John Doe, M- , Man Pulled From Lake in Grand Bend Pronounced Dead
- 08/28/2016 – John Doe, M-Teen, drowned in Lake Huron south of Port Elgin – Saugeen Shores police say three boys were swimming in Gobles Grove, south of Port Elgin, around 6:30 p.m. Sunday when they were pulled into deeper water. A 50-year-old Toronto man came to their aid when he realized they were in water over their heads and they were in distress. He was able to pull one boy to shore while another was able to make his way in by himself. The third boy disappeared under the waves.
- 09/19/2016 David Counsell, M-60, of Saugeen Shores, last seen kayaking between Chantry Island and the Saugeen Shores beach; recovered 09/22/2016.
- 10/15/2016 – John Doe, M-?, Body discovered near Port Albert between Maple-Cedar Grove Road and Mid Huron Beach Road. The deceased person was reported to be wearing a life jacket.
- 10/15/2016 – Mitchell Nelson, M-57, found at Port Albert’s beach
LAKE ERIE = 19
- 03/07/2016 – Brenton Burton, M-35, went missing while boating to Turtle Island, OH.
- 04/15/2016* – Lawrence Thomas, M-55, reported missing late January. The Body was found at Edgewater Park outside of Cleveland
- 05/23/2016 – Mark A. Stoke, M-37, was on the fishing platform at East 72nd Street marina when he fell
- 06/12/2016 – Jakub Hess, M-16, drowned while swimming in waves at Conneaut Lake Park Beach
- 06/24/2016 – Kevin Sullivan*, M-teen, dies after Jet Ski crash- two Jet Skis collided near shore, close to the Edison Bridge on Wednesday at about 2:30 p.m.
- 07/12/2016 – Adam Hinton, M-21, Man drowns near Lake Erie boat launch – disappearing in the waters along a beach break wall – Bystanders told authorities that the man had been with some other people and had waded into water near a break wall.
- 07/14/2016 – William Johnston, M-18 – Recovery mission continues after drowning at Port Stanley — An 18-year-old London male, William Johnston, was swimming in Lake Erie with a 19-year-old female late Thursday afternoon at the main beach. The woman made it to shore safely with help from lifeguards, but Johnston failed to make it to the beach.
- 07/22/2016 – Patrick L. Keith, M-62, Crystal Beach Lakefront Water Park, Ontario Canada, Rip Current drowning
- 07/26/2016 – Giusseppe Reinhart, M-37, After two days of searching, covering nearly 5,400 square nautical miles, the coast guard has ended its search for a missing Ontario man whose boat washed ashore in Hamburg Tuesday afternoon. Officials found paperwork in the boat which allowed them to contact the boater’s fiancée, who said the boat’s owner, a man from Niagara Falls, Ontario, had planned on going fishing.
- 07/30/2016 – Omar Rosa-Marquez, M-24, Man pulled from Lake Erie west of Cleveland pronounced dead – AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) – A man pulled from Lake Erie near Miller Road Park in Avon Lake died Saturday.
- 08/02/2016 – Laura Del-Bel F-56, of Farmington Hills, MI – Body of missing swimmer found near Colchester Harbour
- 08/11/2016 – Tracy Quinlan, F-45, of Niagara, Ont., went underwater while swimming with a friend and never resurfaced. Bystanders found Quinlan, brought to shore and gave CPR.
- 08/13/2016 – Hussein Da Silva, M-19, Man drowns in Lake Erie while swimming with friends at Eric Boulevard in Long Point Provincial Park.
- 08/15/2016 – William Ouimette, M-71, pulled out of the water at the Happy Snapper Marina.
- 08/16/2016 – Dylan Lathrop, M-20, Missing, kayaking on when waves capsized kayaks, off Sunset Bay. Body recovered 08/18/2016
- 08/20/2016 – Jered Grieb, M-20, of Chardon, Ohio struggled in the water near Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve Saturday – three gentleman attempted to return him to shore but they were unsuccessful.
- 10/21/2016 – Robert White, 58, found in the water just east of the Hot Waters Bait and Fishing Store. He had left home to go night fishing about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and never returned home
- 11/06/2016 – Roger Burton, M-55, went missing the afternoon of Nov. 6 near Fairport Harbor. At 4 p.m. the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo received a report of two people in the water about 1 mile offshore near Fairport after the 22-foot boat they were on capsized.
- 12/11/2017 – Jennifer Chambers, F-?, car plunged into the Detroit River on Belle Isle. Body Recovered April 1, 2017
LAKE ONTARIO = 13
- 01/29/2016 – John Doe, M-23, he went over the edge of the Wolfe Island ferry
- 02/08/2016 – Jane Doe, F-72, the woman had fallen into the lake near her property
- 05/27/2016 – John Doe, M-35, Kingston Police responded to a call, police pursuit, called off, possible crash into Lake Ontario
- 05/30/2016 – John Doe, M-Late Teens/early 20’s, Peel Regional Police, Peel Region Paramedics and Mississauga firefighters responded to the incident at Lakefront Promenade Park around 9:45 p.m., car in Lake Ontario, officers don’t suspect foul play.
- 06/12/2016 – Barry Burnett, M-70, Fishing, reported missing from the Bluffer’s Park
- 06/12/2016 – Gerald Ferreira, M-52, Fishing, reported missing from the Bluffer’s Park
- 06/25/2016 – John Doe, M-20s, dies after being pulled from Lake Ontario – A man in his 20s has died after being pulled from Lake Ontario Sunday morning. Paramedics say a group of friends were walking along Queens Quay at Yonge near the ferry terminal around 5 a.m. when one of them fell into the water.
- 06/25/2016 – John Doe*, M-45-60, recovered from the Lake on Saturday.
- 08/06/2016 – Brandon L. Gould, M-34, body recovered 08/08/2016, Waves reportedly were four to five feet high at the time and hampered rescue efforts. Gould was visiting with family at Brennan Beach in the Town of Richland. “We looked out and saw him struggling,’’ Gould’s brother, Korey Gould, told Syracuse.com. “I ran in to get him but did not get there in time.’’
- 10/04/2016 – John Doe, M-?, The man was found near Unwin Ave. between Tommy Thompson Park and Leslie St. on Tuesday night and was later pronounced dead. He is believed to have fallen out of a boat.
- 10/27/2016 – Jane Doe, F-?, a middle-aged woman’s body has been recovered from the bottom of the city’s harbour, the task of determining why her car plunged off a bridge into Lake Ontario begins. What is known so far is that a woman, whose name has not been released, was driving a silver Toyota Corolla north on Cherry St., south of Polson St., at a high rate of speed around 4 p.m. Thursday when it mysteriously veered left, crashed through a guardrail and flew off the west side of a bridge into a shipping channel.
- 11/04/2016 – John Doe, M-?, Toronto police investigate body found in Lake Ontario in Scarborough. Niagara police say the male body was found around 9:30 a.m. (Friday, Nov. 4) off the Waterfront Trail in Spring Gardens Park between Geneva St. and Vine St.
- 11/06/2016 – John Doe, M-?, Police are investigating after a body was found floating in Lake Ontario near the Scarborough Bluffs Sunday, Nov. 6.
55 Great Lakes Drownings
LAKE MICHIGAN = 25
- 06/05/2015 – Donald Wilson, M-28, Lakeview neighborhood recovered near Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL
- 06/10/2015 – John Doe, M-?, Body recovered near Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
- 06/22/2015 – John Doe, M-? Body recovered near Oak St. Beach, Chicago, IL
- 07/11/2015 – Greg Jackson, M-62, Fell off sail boat
- 07/19/2015 – John Doe*, M-?
- 07/22/2015 – Dionysus W. Ames*, 49, near Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL
- 07/24/2015 – Eddie Horns, M-17 – 31st Street Beach, Chicago, IL
- 07/28/2015 – Willis Jones, M-45, died after being pulled out of Lake Michigan on Tuesday.
- 07/29/2015 – Francisco Armendariz, M-29, drowned during a night swim at Oak Street Beach, Chicago.
- 07/31/2015 – Chase Froese, F-20, possible rip current, Porter Beach, IN
- 08/02/2015 – Jose Ortega*, M-35 Chicago, IL pulled from Oak Street Beach.
- 08/10/2015 – Eric Graff, M-39*, jumped in without a life jacket and tried to swim a rope to friends on another boat so they could be connected and watch the Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City, IN. He yelled for help, went face down in the water and was pulled out. CPR was started by one of the passengers. It’s possible he suffered a medical related episode.
- 08/21/2015 – John Doe, M-30’s, pulled from water near Foster Beach, Chicago, IL
- 09/12/2015 – Max W. Boheme, M-24, from Lisle, Illinois, Boheme had been participating in the Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series and failed to return at the end of the event. He was wearing a life jacket, was floating face down on the surface of the water, Coast Guard officials said.
- 09/13/2015 – John Doe, M-36, died after being pulled from the water at 31st Street beach, Chicago.
- 09/19/2015 – Earl Helmuth, M-24, swept off pier by wave in Michigan City, IN
- 09/26/2015 – Aaron Juarez, M-40, Missing – Presumed Drowned, Fishing out of Port Sheldon/Pigeon Lake boat launch. The men, two dogs, boat and fishing gear has not been recovered.
- 09/26/2015 – Christopher Thode, M-25, Missing – Presumed Drowned, Fishing out of Port Sheldon/Pigeon Lake boat launch. The men, two dogs, boat and fishing gear has not been recovered.
- 11/01/2015 – Kevin Brandon Lackey, M-24, Swimming at McKinley Marina ,
- 11/01/2015 – Robert Dermody, body recovered near 9th Street and Sheridan Road
- 11/14/2015 – John Doe, M-60, Reported missing from Chicago 10/13/2015. Recovered near Port Sheldon, MI.
- 11/19/2015 – Brandi Mannino, F-23, of Watervliet. Possibly swept off the pier at Tiscornia Beach, St. Joseph, MI.
- 11/19/2015 – Eike Krebs, M-23, Possibly attempting to rescue girlfriend who may have been swept off the pier at Tiscornia Beach, St. Joseph, MI. Body Recovered 12/19/2015
- 12/12/2015 – Jamil Sharif, M-49, near the museum at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
- 12/14/2015 – John Doe, M-58, 31st Harbor, Chicago
LAKE SUPERIOR = 2
- 07/29/2015 – Andrew Kneeshaw, 49, McLain State Park. A nearby surfer assisted the swimmer back to shore and began CPR.
- 08/15/2015 – John Doe, M-87, Drowned while swimming with11 year old daughter.
LAKE HURON = 6
- 06/29/2015 – George Robert Brammer of Huntington, M-74, West Virginia. He was not wearing a life jacket while boating.
- 08/02/2015 – Lucas Johnson, M-16, swimming near the pier at the Kincardine Harbour.
- 08/15/2015 – Chelsea M. Younge, F-26, drowned Saturday evening after jumping from a fishing boat on Saginaw Bay.
- 08/20/2015 – Garrett Lewis, M-23, last seen swimming near rock wall
- 09/03/2015 – Matthew James Boniface, M-27, he was swimming back from a sandbar when he was “overcome by fatigue,” at Pinery Provincial Park in Kincardine. He had been pulled from the water without vital signs. Bystanders reportedly performed CPR, but he could not be revived.
- 11/01/2015 – Jane Doe, F-32, rough water near the town of Bluewater
LAKE ERIE = 13
- 05/24/2015 – John Doe, M-22, Geneva on the Lake
- 05/25/2015 – Demarios Eatman, M-21, Wildwood Park, Pier jump
- 06/06/2015 – Glen Willaim, M-65, fall off a sailboat during race near East Harbor State Park
- 06/19/2015 – John Doe, M-10, Swept away from shore
- 07/01/2015 – John Doe, M-?, Body pulled from water (Possible suicide?)
- 07/23/2015 – John Doe, M-21, fell off inflatable raft and not wearing a life-jacket
- 07/30/2015 – Jane Doe, F-?, Would-be rescuer.
- 07/24/2015 – Sidney Heidrick, M-4, wandered out of grandparent’s home and entered water.
- 07/28/2015 – Christopher J. Hall, M-30, fishing from pier and went swimming
- 09/19/2015 – John Doe, drowned while swimming with friends in Port Colborne
- 09/22/2015 – Rich Gala, M-80, Fisherman found floating face down. He was wearing a life jacket
- 10/25/2015 – Stanley Eliot Moore, M-53, Fishing
- 12/06/2015 – Andrew Lasek, M-42, Kayaking and fishing. Recovered about a mile off shore from Sturgeon Point Marina, Town of Evans.
LAKE ONTARIO = 9
- 02/22/2015 – Max Maisel, M-21, near the Charlotte Pier in Rochester, N.Y.
- 05/24/2015 – John Doe, M-40 to 45, 1225 Lake Shore Blvd., Toronto, CA
- 06/04/2015 – Jarett Shoal, M-30, Missing while boating
- 06/16/2015 – Keith White, M-34, fall of cruise boat
- 06/26/2015 – John Doe, M-?, Body recovered
- 08/10/2015 – John Doe, M-69, possibly fell off boat
- 09/05/2015 – Anelle Maegen Bagalac, F-12, attempting to save her younger brother drowning in the Scarborough Bluffs
- 09/27/2015 – John Doe, M-49, Body of missing kayaker found on shore. It is believed that he was not wearing a life jacket at the time. He has not been publicly identified at the family’s request.
- 10/29/2015 Timothy Kelley, M-36, Kayaking
* = Awaiting confirmation of drowning.
54 Great Lakes Drownings
LAKE MICHIGAN = 24
- 02/22/2014 Jane Doe-(Debra Fredricksen?), F-61
- 02/26/2014 Jeremy L. Zerbe, M-35, Recovered 04/29/2014
- 04/18/2014 Tyna Nguyen,F-20s Woman pulled from Lake Michigan 04/19 died.
- 04/28/2014 Cristal Garcia, F-18,Montrose Harbor, Chicago, IL, died in hospital 05/09
- 04/28/2014 Victor Victor Martinez, M-20, Attempted rescue at Montrose Harbor
- 05/03/2014 John Moebs, M-33, Milwaukee, WI
- 05/08/2014 Rebecca Long, F-32, Lake Forest, IL
- 05/15/2014 Bonnie Ruleau, F-55,
- 05/20/2014 Ali Moufid, M-?, 31st Street Beach, Chicago, IL
- 05/20/2014 Othmane Kassou, M-?, 31st Street Beach, Chicago, IL
- 05/21/2014 Jose Moreno, M-17, Holland State Park, Pier Jump
- 05/31/2014 Ron Wood Jr., M-29, boating and attempted rescue (body recovered June 27)
- 06/01/2014 Orest Sopka, 30, Boat sank between New Buffalo & Chicago
- 06/01/2014 Megan Blenner, F-27, Recovered 06/29/2014
- 06/16/2014 Jose Alcazar, M-18, Pier Jump, Whiting, IN
- 07/01/2014 Gyron Webb, M-16, Fell off rocks, Irving Park Rd. and Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL
- 07/02/2014 Eric Pandasi, M-20, 1100-block West Pratt Avenue, Chicago, IL
- 07/04/2014 Joe Cherry, M-27, 57th Street Beach, Chicago, IL
- 08/09/2014 Daniel Brown, M-56, Brown, no life jacket, fell off boat
- 08/11/2014 Soufija Pastuovich, F-78, Near Promontory Point
- 09/07/2014 Amer Rustum, M-54, fall from boat, near Indiana Dunes State Park
- 09/17/2014 Joseph Kiehm, M-48, sailboating – McKinley Marina in the Milwaukee Harbor
- 09/21/2014 John Doe, M-?,
- 11/24/2014 John Doe
Other Lake Michigan related deaths:
- 06/01/2014 Ashley Haws, F-29, [died from hypothermia]
- 06/23/2014 Roland W. Gregory, M-76, South Port Beach, Kenosha, WI [may be natural causes]
- 08/24/2014 Elderly Man, Lighthouse Beach
LAKE SUPERIOR = 2
- 12/23/2014 Evan “Alec” Johnson, M-40, swept off rocks
- 12/23/2014 Wayne Hoffman, M-66, ‘would-be rescuer’
LAKE HURON = 7
- 06/04/2014 Calvert H. Shuptrine, M-84, Swimming in surf
- 06/17/2014 John Doe, M-18, Inflatable raft drifted from shore.
- 07/05/2014 Selim Mahmutovic, M-25, swimming near breakwater at Port Austin harbor
- 08/11/2014 Dennis Javens, M-?, Scuba diving
- 08/16/2014 Adam McKelvey, M-42, would-be rescuer
- 08/20/2014 Timothy A. Troup, M-62, Scuba diving
- 09/01/2014 Tomasz Gladkowski, M-39, would-be rescuer of son
LAKE ERIE = 17
- 04/17/2014 Andy Rose, M-33, missing boater recovered 05/08 three weeks after accident on 04/14/2014
- 04/17/2014 Bryan Huff, 32, missing boater recovered 05/06 three weeks after accident 0n 04/14/2014
- 04/17/2014 Paige Widmer, F-17
- 04/17/2014 Amy Santus, F-33
- 05/31/2014 Peter Radke, M-43, Rescue Attempt, Huntington Beach in Bay Village, OH
- 06/04/2014 Antonio Romao, M-65, Fishing
- 06/29/2014 Boy Doe, M-14,
- 07/01/2014 David Ingraham, M-62, Swimming alongside a raft Geneva on the Lake, OH
- 07/08/2014 Kristen Stefan, F-37, rescue attempt, son inner tube, offshore winds, Shore Haven Beach, NY
- 07/05/2014* Boy Doe, M-14, Headlands Beach State Park, *Condition unknown
- 07/18/2014 Jane Doe, F-?, Edgewater Park,
- 07/27/2014 Peter Hildebrandt, M-15
- 08/17/2014 Kelly Walker, F-34
- 08/17/2014 Bryce Canady, M-15,
- 08/24/2014 John Doe, M-45, Erieau Beach, Chatham-Kent
- 08/24/2014 Hiawatha Rutland, M-33, Whiskey Island, Cleveland, OH
- 09/07/2014 Juan Lavya, M-34, of Detroit, Michigan.
LAKE ONTARIO = 4
- 05/15/2014 John Suppel, M-60, Missing boater, search called off.
- 08/21/2014 Christian D. Gothgen, M-49
- 09/07/2014 Ivan Batusic, M-47, boating
- 10/05/2014 Kavi Kistnasamy, M-22
67 Great Lakes Drownings
LAKE MICHIGAN = 24
- 06/06 Ramon Benavidez, 32, Belmont Harbor,
- 06/18 Benjamin McCarter, 31-M, Kenosha, WI Pier Jump
- 06/19 Austin Hudson-Lapore, 20-M, Chicago, IL
- 06/25 Miles Percy Smith, 16-M, Grand Traverse Bay, MI
- 06/25 John Doe, 40-M, Belmont Harbor, Chicago, IL
- 06/31 John English, 47-M, Grand Haven, MI
- 07/02 John Doe, 8-M, North Manitou Island, Glen Arbor, MI
- 07/04 Christopher Evans, 25-M, Belmont Harbor, Chicago, I
- 07/16 Brian Behrensprung, 39-M, Sheboygan, WI
- 07/16 Johnathan Whitehouse, Aronson Island, Escanaba, MI
- 07/17 Robert Womac, ?-M, Leland, MI
- 07/18 Nathan Luna, 34-M, Laketown Township, MI
- 07/18 Michael Janko. Fell off boat possibly without life jacket.
- 07/19 Rochelle Jenkins, 15-F, Pere Marquette Park
- 07/20 Bruce Henderson, 67-M, Nordhouse Dunes, in Mason County’s Grant Township
- 07/27 Matt Kocher, 15-M, New Buffalo, MI
- 07/27 Gonzola Silva, 37-M, Beverly Shores, IN.
- 08/04 Wayne Gordon, 30-M, Jackson Harbor, Chicago, IL
- 08/11 Bobby J. Wilson, 30-M, outside the Hammond Marina, Hammond, IN
- 08/15 Dylan Curtis Bailey, 24-M, Sleeping Bear Bay, Glen Arbor, MI
- 08/27 Anthony Tyson, 54-M, 57th St. Beach, Air mattress, Chicago, IL
- 09/01 Najam Naimi, 30-M, Montrose Harbor, Retrieving ball, Chicago, IL
- 10/22 Richard J. Franzese, 58-M, Reefpoint Marina, Racine, WI
- 04/16/2014 Allen L. Townsend, M-48, Went missing 11/20/2013
LAKE SUPERIOR = 9
- 01/27 James Hudson, 34-M, Bayfield, WI, Snowmobile through ice
- 02/21 Joshua G. Reynolds 30-M, Madeline Island, Bayfield, WI, Snowmobile through ice
- 02/21 Mark J. Backe 38-M, Madeline Island, Bayfield, WI, Snowmobile through ice
- 07/15 Lloyd W. Krohn, 55-M, scuba diving a shipwreck at Isle Royale National Park
- 08/18 Marlene Fox, 26-F, cliff diving, 2 meter waves, Thunder Bay
- 08/18 Kevin Spade, 32-M, cliff diving, 2 meter waves, Thunder Bay
- 09/08 Kenny Rubbet, 19-M, north side of Little Presqe Isle
- 10/03 Paul Francis Lempke, 48-M, Kauppi Resort north of Gay in Sherman Township
- 10/04* John Doe, ?-M, north side Steamboat Island, south of Pancake Bay
LAKE ONTARIO = 14
- 03/29 John Doe, 16-M, Don Basin, vehicle submerged, Toronto, CA
- 05/08* John Doe, 30-40’s, Ashbridges Bay, Toronto, CA
- 06/04 John Doe, ?, Scarborough Bluffs
- 06/16 Daniel Ransom, 19-M, Port Credit
- 06/19* Jane Doe, 48-F, Port Darlington Beach
- 06/21* John Doe, ?-?, Toronto Beach
- 07/02 Jane Doe, 33-F, Ontario Place, Toronto
- 07/15* Scott B. French – missing
- 07/15 Tony Weaver, 40-M, Fell off boat, Huron, NY
- 08/06* John Doe, 50’s-M, Oshawa shoreline,
- 08/12 Erhard Fenzl, 73-M, Canoe capsized, MARATHON, Ont.
- 08/12 John Doe, 43-M, Burloak Drive, Halton
- 08/25 Pirasanna Bakumar, 26-M J.C. Saddington Park in Mississauga
- 10/18 Matthew John MacLeod, 38-M, Beachway Park
LAKE ERIE = 19
- 01/29 Jacob Samusenko, 17-M, East Basin, Erie, PN
- 03/09 John Doe, ?-M, Rock Hall, Cleveland, OH
- 04/07 Jonathan Francis, 30-M, Sandusky Bay, OH, Kayaking
- 04/07 Viola Francis, 12-F, Sandusky Bay, OH, Kayaking
- 05/16 Godfried McKinney, 54-M, Monroe County, Fishing
- 05/16 Kendrick Covington,64-M, Monroe County, Fishing
- 07/04 John Doe, 36-M, Estral Beach, 30 miles northeast of Toledo, OH
- 07/07 Jan Carlos Delosantos-Nunez, 17-M, Westfield, NY
- 07/09 James Paul VanDosen, 36-M, Wayne County
- 07/11 Kenneth Stockwell, 66-M, Leamington
- 07/12 Jermaine Marcus Zirkle, 13-M, Ashtabula County, Saybrook Township
- 07/16 Gregory Adams, 15-M, Edgewater Park
- 07/24 Ralph Miller, 66-M, rough waters, near Sara’s Campground in Millcreek Towship
- 07/27 John Doe, Cuyahoga, OH
- 08/25 Brian J. McCluskey, 32-M, Evangola State Park, Irving, NY
- 08/25 Traveno Sledge, 24-M, Euclid Beach State Park, Cleveland, OH
- 08/25 Jonathan Davis, 29, E. 72nd Street and North Marginal Road, Cleveland, OH
- 12/20 Robert Remec, 56-M, Sheffield Lake boat launch
- 12/27 Lothario Julius Duckworth, 38, car submerged, boat ramp, Wildwood State Park
LAKE HURON = 1
2012 Great Lakes Drowning Statistics = 99; 260 since 2010
2011 Great Lakes Drowning Statistics = 87; 161 since 2010
2010 Great Lakes Drowning Statistics = 744
Compilation of GLSRP TV Interviews
09/23/2020 – MLIVE – Lake Michigan Documentary – The Deadliest Great Lake
Good Morning America – Boater helps rescue toddler stranded on inflatable duck
Inside Edition – Toddler Sobs as He Drifts Out on Lake Michigan on Giant Duck Float
NBC 5 Chicago – Close Call Caught on Cam on Lake Michigan After Toddler on Inflatable Duck Carried Away by Wind – What began as a peaceful day at the lake in Michigan City, Indiana, quickly turned to panic Monday afternoon
07/17/2019 – The Weather Channel – Beachgoers Rescue Kid Who Floated Away – winds blew inflatable duck away from shore toward open water.
Updated 11/23/2020, 8:00 p.m.
11/20/2020 – Lake Superior Magazine – Around the Circle This Week: November 20, 2020 – Seasonal Corps Cautions: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put out a release this week naming a few of the dangers to folks enjoying Great Lakes waters this time of year. “Many accidents and incidents near harbor structures occur during the turbulent weather season late in the year and higher than normal water levels pose an added threat,” the release notes. “The lakeshore attracts local residents and visitors alike and some may not be aware of the powerful impacts that strong winds, storms and high water levels can bring.” The release also links to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit geared toward eradicating drownings in the Great Lakes. It has done classes in Duluth (in summer, seen here) and we just liked the “Baywatch” image on its open … along with the good statistics on drownings and its safety tips. Besides the usual cold waters this time of year (though Lake Superior can be warmer than the air temps in winter), the Corps pointed to three areas of concern: “Submerged Structures. Many piers, docks and portions of breakwaters may not be visible above the water surface due to high water and waves. Winds often affect local water levels, dramatically increasing levels during storms. and windy days. Structures that may be visible on a calm day may not be visible on a windy day.
11/18/2020 – Fox TV 6 – High water levels and wave events increase safety hazards on Great Lakes — Many accidents and incidents near harbor structures occur during the turbulent weather season late in the year and higher than normal water levels pose an added threat. For more information on water and pier safety, the Great Lakes Beach & Pier Safety Task Force’s video, “Respect the Power,” is a great resource. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is another resource for water safety.
11/18/2020 – US Army Corps of Engineers – High water levels and wave events increase safety hazards — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges caution around Great Lake piers, breakwaters and jetties, particularly during times of high wind and wave events. Many accidents and incidents near harbor structures occur during the turbulent weather season late in the year and higher than normal water levels pose an added threat. The lakeshore attracts local residents and visitors alike and some may not be aware of the powerful impacts that strong winds, storms and high water levels can bring. Stay Safe. For more information on water and pier safety, the Great Lakes Beach & Pier Safety Task Force’s video, “Respect the Power,” is a great resource. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project http://www.glsrp.org/ is another resource for water safety.
11/15/2020 – Herald Palladium – South Haven officials form committee to address beach, water safety concerns – After 3 drownings this year, some residents want to bring back lifeguards – Three drownings in Lake Michigan this past summer along with more than a dozen water rescues has prompted City Council members to form a committee to examine whether changes need to be made to the current beach and water safety plan. Members voted unanimously Monday to form the committee following ongoing requests by citizens for the city hire lifeguards, once again, to man North and South beaches, the two largest of the city’s seven beaches.
11/01/2020 – SUP Connect – SUP BASICS: WHAT’S YOUR SWIM SCORE?
10/25/2020 – MLIVE – Why most Lake Michigan beaches don’t have lifeguards despite repeated drownings
10/25/2020 – MLIVE – Could these lives have been saved by lifeguards along Lake Michigan?
10/26/2020 – Great Lakes Echo – Is Lake Michigan the most dangerous Great Lake?
10/21/2020 – Mix 95.7 Grand Rapids – Holland State Park will limit access to the pier during winter
10/21/2020 – MLIVE – Holland State Park likely to gate-off Lake Michigan pier during dangerous conditions
10/20/2020 – WZZM – Holland State Park to limit access to pier during harsh weather
There have been 53 drownings in Lake Michigan this year.
10/17/2020 – Pool Fence DIY – Lake Drowning Prevention: Lake Michigan Sets a Drowning Record with 53 Lives Lost in 2020
10/15/2020 – Ludington Daily News – Is Lake Michigan the most dangerous Great Lake?
10/11/2020 – Northwest Indiana Times – With Lake Michigan’s record-high deaths, activists call for more safety measures
10/09/2020 – Petoskey News-Review – Local Lowdown: ‘Swim at your own risk’ Lake Michigan drownings at a 10 year high
10/09/2020 – The Sault News – ‘Swim at your own risk:’ Lake Michigan drownings at a 10 year high
10/09/2020 – Spartan News Room – Is Lake Michigan the most dangerous Great Lake?
10/08/2020 – MLIVE – Letter from the Editor: Lake Michigan drowning video shows the power of nature, and the power of journalism to save lives
Sitting in front of someone who has suffered a tragedy in their life and asking them questions is the hardest thing I’ve done in my career as a journalist. And it’s been one of the most important, too.
That’s why the documentary video “The Deadliest Great Lake” by MLive has so much resonance – the tales of loss land like a punch to the gut. But I also believe those stories will save lives.
The documentary features families who have lost children to drownings in Lake Michigan. That lake accounts for nearly half of all drownings each year in the Great Lakes, due to a unique combination of factors such as population, wave effects, piers and weather patterns.
The science behind that is explained in excellent fashion in the video. But that’s not what delivers the message of what is at stake.
“One of the hardest things to film was the moms talking about their kids, (holding) their photos,” said Jeremy Marble, an MLive videographer who served as director of photography for the project. “It’s not about you, and what answers you want to get, it’s about them telling their story.”
Lori Chapman, scriptwriter and editor for the video, was in the room for those difficult moments, as well.
10/04/2020 – Fox 11 GREEN BAY (WLUK) – 2020 breaks record for drownings on Lake Michigan
10/02/2020 – Great Lakes Commission – Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high in 2020 — Drownings in Lake Michigan have reached record levels with at least 53 people dead so far this year, according to the water safety advocacy group the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
10/01/2020 – Holland Sentinel – Lake Michigan drownings reach 10-year high
10/01/2020 – Great Lakes Now – Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high in 2020
10/01/2020 – Northwest Indiana Times – UPDATE: Lake hazard warnings extended at NWI beaches, NWS says
09/30/2020 – WILX – Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high in 2020
09/30/2020 – Manistee News Advocate – Recovering drowning victims in Lake Michigan can be a difficult task
09/30/2020 – FlipBoard – U.S. News & World Report – Lake Michigan Drownings Surge to New High in 2020
09/30/2020 – South Bend Tribune – Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high in 2020
09/29/2020 – WBBM News Radio 780 Chicago – 2020 sees a record number of drownings in Lake Michigan
09/29/2020 – MLIVE – Lake Michigan drownings reach record-breaking level in 2020
09/29/2020 – Wood TV 8 – Great Lakes Surf group says Lake Michigan drownings have hit record high
09/29/2020 – CBS Detroit – Authorities Urge Caution As Lake Michigan Drownings Reach 10-Year High
09/29/2020 – WFGR Grand Rapids – Lake Michigan Drownings Reach 10-year High
09/29/2020 – Parent Security – #childsafetytips | Lake Michigan communities and drowning — Does your coastal town have a lifeguard on duty? What about a life ring or water safety classes and other measures to help educate or offer resources to prevent drownings?
09/29/2020 – Huron Daily Tribune – Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high in 2020
09/29/2020 – Click on Detroit – Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high in 2020 – At least 53 people died so far this year
09/23/2020 – MLIVE – Lake Michigan Documentary – The Deadliest Great Lake
09/23/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Three other people have drowned this year in Monroe Harbor. On Sept. 3, divers found the body of 32-year-old man in the water, days after he went into Lake Michigan from a boat. On Aug. 25, Carlton Hughes drowned in Monroe Harbor after going in the water near the Museum Campus. The 41-year-old Gresham resident died a day later at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. On July 7, Ameera Muhammad, 24, of Bronzeville drowned after swimming in the harbor during bad weather, officials said. In 2020, at least 50 people have drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lake Surf Rescue Project, which tracks drownings.
09/18/2020 – NWI Times – Beach hazards, frost predicted across Region
09/18/2020 – KPC News – Beach hazards, frost predicted across Region
09/11/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Young woman pulled from Lake Michigan in cardiac arrest on South Side – First responders pulled her from the water Friday afternoon near 87th Street.
09/07/2020 – NWI Times – Indiana teen’s body recovered from Lake Michigan, DNR says
09/09/2020 – NWI Times – Search continues for boater after he fell overboard near Hammond Marina
09/07/2020 – WNDU – Southwest Michigan shorelines see high swim risk on Labor Day
09/07/2020 – WZZM – ‘Stay out of the water’, Dangerous swim conditions on Lake Michigan
09/06/2020 – The Holland Sentinel – My Take: Lifeguards at Lake Michigan would make all the difference
09/05/2020 – WZZM – 3 water rescues reported near South Haven on Lake Michigan
09/03/2020 – NBC 5 – Body Recovered From Monroe Harbor Four Days Into Search For Missing Boater – The body is believed to be that of a 32-year-old man who fell off a boat Sunday evening in the harbor near the 400 block of East Monroe Street, police said. He went underwater and never resurfaced.
09/03/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Body recovered from Monroe Harbor four days into search for missing boater
09/02/2020 – WZZM – Practicing water safety and COVID-19 precautions this Labor Day Weekend
09/02/2020 – Fox 32 – Body recovered from Monroe Harbor four days into search for missing boater
08/31/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Search resumes for missing boater in Monroe Harbor
08/31/2020 – Journal Sentinel – Life-threatening swim conditions expected along Lake Michigan beaches on Monday
08/29/2020 – MLIVE – 8-foot waves, dangerous swimming conditions forecast for Lake Michigan
08/27/2020 – Record Eagle – Editorial: Enjoy the lakes, but approach them with caution
08/24/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – 2nd Bridgeview teen dies after being pulled from Lake Michigan in NW Indiana — Yousef Saleh was among several people pulled from the Portage Lakefront Aug. 16.
08/19/2020 – Detroit Free Press – 60 people have drowned in Great Lakes this year: How to stay safe — For years, the GLSRP has argued the flag system doesn’t work.
“The flag system is absolutely not enough,” said Executive Director Dave Benjamin. “People drown every year during red flag conditions and every year, the system proves to be a failure.
“It’s meant to be a tool for lifeguards; but it doesn’t replace them. A flag has never gone into the water. A flag has never rescued anybody. Lifeguards are trained to watch, they’re trained to know what drowning looks like and they’re trained to get to victims in less than 60 seconds and bring them a flotation device.”
Benjamin argues, when it comes to water safety, time is of the essence.
After three minutes in the water, a drowning victim’s heart stops. A minute later, irreparable brain damage beings, [and at 10 minutes there’s only a 14% survival rate].
[“If a person is in the water and recognizes that someone is drowning, how long does it take for them to get out of the water], call [911. 911 pinpoints their location, and dispatches] first responders – even if their response time is 3 minutes their arrival time may be past the 10 minute mark.”]
Benjamin said. “It’s not a rescue anymore; it’s a recovery.”
Common misconceptions about drownings don’t help, either. “There’s this thing called the stigma of drowning,” Benjamin said. “When a drowning happens, people often blame the victim or the parents or Darwinism. It gives people a false sense of security. “They think drowning can’t or won’t happen to them. They say they wouldn’t be that parent or put themselves in that situation. And that comes from a place of misunderstanding. Drowning happens to other people until you become other people. “And this stigma actually inhibits funding against drowning because the theme becomes, ‘Only stupid people drown. And why should we waste money on stupid?’ But that’s not right.”
According to data from GLSRP, 80 percent of drowning victims are male, 66 percent of drowning victims are strong swimmers and 54 percent of Americans lack the basic swimming abilities necessary to save their own lives in a water emergency. But a lack of widespread knowledge that drowning can happen to anyone means many visitors ignore red flags.
“If you go to a beach and you see red flags flying and hundreds of people in the water, what message does that send?” Benjamin said.
In August, a general management plan for the future of Holland State Park was released to the public. The $4.6 million draft includes designing and constructing a new bathroom building, installing an automated parking notification system and making accessibility improvements. The plan does not, however, include an updated water condition warning system for park visitors. But according to Mulligan, safety concerns aren’t what a general management plan is designed to tackle. “That plan is a long-term goal for management of the park,” he said. “Problems that concern safety are an immediate need, so we deal with those things not in the plan but in our daily operations and conversations.”
Mulligan added the DNR is having those conversations now. “We’re working on that with our division,” he said. “We’re working on things like trying to acquire a public address system. We’re utilizing our social media pages to post conditions. “We’re also working with the township and engineers and having ongoing conversations about what we can do, such as placing a gate on the pier and finding other ways to educate the public.”
A virtual meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, during which those interested in sharing their opinion about the future of Holland State Park will have an opportunity to speak.
Advance registration is required for the meeting. To sign up and view a copy of the management plan, visit michigan.gov/holland.
[*Unfortunately there were some misquoted or misunderstood information during the interview. I corrected some of it in the brackets above.]
08/18/2020 – NWI Times – 2 drowning victims identified amid concerns about local beach safety – Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project Executive Director Dave Benjamin, who helped provide care when Nagi was brought to shore at Porter Beach, also asked: “Why are people allowed to continue to swim at these beaches when clearly Indiana Dunes State Park closed its water to swimmers because of the red flag conditions?” Benjamin asked why the local beaches in question, which are within the jurisdiction of Indiana Dunes National Park, are allowed to operate “without lifeguards, beach signage, beach flags, rescue equipment?” “Why are people allowed to swim when there’s a report of a missing swimmer?” he asked. “Why does someone have to die before the water is cleared of swimmers?” No one has yet responded at the Indiana Dunes National Park for comment.
08/17/2020 – Click on Detroit – Swimming advisories extended for parts of Lake Michigan
08/17/2020 – Herald Dispatch – One dead, several rescued from choppy waters of Lake Michigan – PORTAGE — Though the National Weather Service had issued beach warnings along the Lake Michigan shoreline, area beaches were packed this weekend, keeping first responders busy with emergency calls. “There were a total of 10 distressed swimmer/near drowning calls Sunday along the Porter County shore of Lake Michigan,” a statement from Ogden Dunes Police said. “We have more high wave warnings coming … Reminder to heed the warnings.”
08/16/2020 – NWI Times – Teen remains missing after disappearing off Portage Riverwalk, official says
08/14/2020 – Interlochen Public Radio – Late summer, early fall can be a dangerous time on Great Lakes for boaters, swimmers
08/13/2020 – WISN – The Milwaukee County Parks Department decided to close McKinley Beach for the rest of the summer after three people have drowned in rip currents. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project said 29 people have drowned in Lake Michigan so far this year.
County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman said the drownings at McKinley Beach could have been prevented. “All the parks, pools have been closed, and we have a hot summer in Milwaukee and people want to cool off and they’re going to come down to the beach,” he said. “It’s the only place they could cool off, and we should have had lifeguards here. We didn’t and three people have died. It’s very tragic.”
Wasserman said there have not been lifeguards at McKinley Beach for more than a decade. County Parks officials said funding for lifeguards is included in its budget request for next year, but it does not include McKinley Beach.
08/12/2020 – NBC 5 – A body pulled from Lake Michigan has been identified as Patrick Louis Tedeski, a 15-year-old boy who fell into Diversey Harbor days earlier. At least 29 people have downed in Lake Michigan so far in 2020, according to the Great Lake Surf Project, which tracks drownings.
08/13/2020 – Holland Sentinel – $4.6M DNR plan for Holland State Park – AND it does not include a penny for lifeguards – it does not include updated warning system — This year has already seen three deaths at Holland State Park, including Eliza Trainer, 16, of Flint, who drowned after she and her friend were swept off the pier in January; Iain Rowe, 6, of Ferrysburg, who drowned after water conditions worsened on June 6; and Christian Ngabo, 17, of Grand Rapids, who drowned the same day and during the same conditions as Rowe.
There have been 892 drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010, with the majority occurring in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. In 2020 so far, there have been 54 Great Lakes drownings, with more than half (29) in Lake Michigan.
New projects in the $4.6 million draft include designing and constructing a new bathroom building, installing an automated parking notification system, upgrading the electric service in Lake Macatawa Campground and making accessibility improvements along the channel and on the beach.
The “phase two” plan covers at least the next decade of management strategies and upgrades that will help the Department of Natural Resources protect and preserve the park’s natural and cultural resources — as well as provide access to public recreation and education.
Those interested in sharing their opinion about the future of Holland State Park will have an opportunity in an upcoming virtual meeting.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, and will focus on gathering public feedback on the draft of the new general management plan.
08/11/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Body pulled from Belmont Harbor identified as teen who went missing in Lake Michigan. Patrick Tedeski was recovered Aug. 7 from Belmont Harbor.
08/01/2020 – South Bend Tribune – Lake Michigan claims three lives in one day – So far this year, 25 of the 48 drownings in the Great Lakes have occurred in Lake Michigan — highlighting its reputation as the most dangerous of the lakes for swimmers.
08/01/2020 – WZZM – Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project to educate on lake safety — This comes just days after three people drowned in Lake Michigan. This year, 48 people have drowned in the Great Lakes.
07/31/2020 – WSBT – So far this year 24 people have drowned in Lake Michigan — Water safety advocate Dave Benjamin has spent the past 10 years tracking Lake Michigan drownings. “All of these could’ve easily been prevented, and once the person got in trouble, possibly survivable if the person knew survival drowning strategies,” he said. He says people don’t realize that the lakes have dangerous waves and undercurrents, too. He talked about several tips to stay safe. And expressed frustration that cities don’t make water safety more of a priority. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years now and it never gets easier and usually it is always the same message.” Benjamin says if you do want to go swimming in wavy water, to wear a life jacket.
07/31/2020 – WZZM – Father drowns in Lake Michigan attempting to save his children — Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, says there’s a common belief that tourists are more likely to drown than locals. He doesn’t believe that’s necessarily true.
07/31/2020 – NWI Times – UPDATE: 2 people drown, 1 still missing at Lake Michigan beaches as hazards statements were in effect
07/31/2020 – ABC 57 – Recent Lake Michigan drownings reminder of rip current dangers
07/31/2020 – MLIVE – Off-duty DNR officer saves swimmer in Lake Superior
07/31/2020 – NWI Times – Lake Michigan beaches saw 1 drowning, 2 missing people as hazards statements were in effect
07/28/2020 – Traverse City Record Eagle – Torch Lake death adds to list of water-related fatalities 07/26/2020 – Richard Church, M-57,
07/27/2020 – WTTW 11 – CHICAGO TONIGHT – With Beaches Closed, Experts Warn of Increased Risk for Drowning
07/21/2020 – WZZM – Grand Haven fisherman raising money for water safety education after latest drowning. He hopes the effort will span to all Michigan beaches.
07/21/2020 – Fox 6 Milwaukee – SE Wisconsin sees sharp rise in drownings this summer; COVID-19 could play role
07/21/2020 – WNEM – Teen’s body found in Lake Michigan after weekend drowning
07/21/2020 – WILX – Teen’s body found in Lake Michigan after weekend drowning
07/20/2020 – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Teen who drowned saving two young family members was remembered for always doing the right thing
07/20/2020 – WLS 7 Chicago – Local swim school offers swimming safety tips for parents
07/17/2020 – Fox 17 – Frightening video of kids nearly swept off of Michigan City pier on Sunday
07/16/2020 – News Radio 780 WBBM – Swimmer Dies After Going Underwater For 40 Minutes In Lake Michigan At Promontory Point
07/16/2020 – WSBT – Michigan City looks to build barrier after scary video is shared online
07/16/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – John Doe, M-?, Swimmer dies after going underwater for 40 minutes in Lake Michigan at Promontory Point. So far in 2020, at least 17 other people have drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lake Surf Project, which tracks drownings.
07/15/2020 – Detroit Feee Press – 2 children seen running as high waves almost take them underwater
07/15/2020 – CBS 2 Chicago – Video Shows Two Kids Nearly Swept Away By Waves On Michigan City Pier
07/15/2020 – Northwest Indiana Times – WATCH NOW: Footage of children nearly swept into Lake Michigan amid crashing waves
07/14/2020 – Fox 17 – Search for missing swimmer now a recovery mission in South Haven – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue project, a non-profit that keeps tabs of drownings, says so far this year 16 people have already drowned in Lake Michigan. “These numbers go up almost daily, this time of year,” said David Benjamin, co-founder and executive director. “Unfortunately this summer and every summer drowning is season.” Benjamin recommends families always bring a flotation device in case of an emergency.
07/13/2020 – BuzzFeed – Update: Search for man in water continues in South Haven, MI
07/12/2020 – Fox 6 News – Beach Hazard issued for some lakeshore counties Sunday
07/12/2020 – MLIVE – 6-foot waves, strong currents forecast for some Lake Michigan beaches on Sunday
07/12/2020 – The Detroit Free Press – It’s swimming season in Michigan’s lakes and rivers: Have fun but use caution
07/10/2020 – ABC 57 – Dangerous Outlook: Strong currents, high waves along Lake Michigan
07/10/2020 – NBC 26 Green Bay – STURGEON BAY (NBC 26) – A non-profit group that tracks drownings on the Great Lakes is warning that the deadly four W’s are in play: Warm, Wind, Waves and Weekend. They say it is a dangerous combination. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports there have already been 30 Great Lakes drownings this year and more than half of those were in Lake Michigan. The Coast Guard recommends you play it safe. “If you have a kid, or pretty much anyone and you have them at the beach, put them in a life jacket. So, in case something does happen, and they get caught up in a current, that’s just extra protection for them just in case,” said Petty Officer Dennis Whartnaby with the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard. According to the group’s figures, last year there were 97 drownings in the Great Lakes and Lake Michigan claimed 48 of those lives.
07/10/2020 – The Game 730 AM – DANGEROUS SWIMMING CONDITIONS TODAY ON LAKE MICHIGAN
07/10/2020 – Northwest Indiana Times – Beach swimming advisory extended into Saturday; storms to bring strong winds to Region, NWS says
07/10/2020 – Chicago Tribune – Chicago Heights boy, 12, drowns in Lake Michigan during family visit to Gary. A 12-year-old Chicago Heights boy drowned Thursday at Marquette Park Beach in Gary while visiting the beach with family, according to officials. Rescuers pulled Jarail C. Lee Jr., from the water at about 6:24 p.m., a little more than an hour after the boy disappeared under the water and did not resurface. The boy is the 16th person to drown in Lake Michigan so far this year, according to Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. GLSRP has tracked drownings throughout the five Great Lakes since 2010.So far in 2020 there have been 30 Great Lakes drownings and four victims that were taken to the hospital and listed in critical condition or condition unknown. It is not known if these drowning victims survived. “Once again Great Lakes drownings are on a record pace when compared to previous years,” Benjamin said. “At this pace we will likely have 100 Great Lakes drownings in 2020.” The water was relatively calm Thursday, though that is expected to change for the weekend. He said if the current forecast for Friday night to Sunday holds true, Lake Michigan will have high and turbulent surf, especially at the south end of the lake.
07/10/2020 – Record Eagle – Editorial: Enjoy beaches and lakes with care — Take a few moments this week, next week or whenever you next arrive at a beach or boat launch to redouble your water safety efforts. Don’t swim alone. Know your limits. Wear life jackets. Our lakes are immensely powerful, even when placid. They can be as dangerous as they are beautiful. Please join us in enjoying them with care.
07/09/2020 – The Sault News – Group says Great Lakes drowning cases spiked over holiday weekend
07/09/2020 – Northwest Indiana Times – UPDATE: Coroner identifies 12-year-old drowning victim
07/09/2020 – Chicago Tribune – Too many people are drowning. Here’s how to stay safe in Lake Michigan this summer. Learn to “flip, float, follow”: In a water emergency, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project recommends that swimmers first flip over onto their back to float, then keeping the head above water, stay calm and follow the clearest path toward safety. The GLSRP has other tips here, and advice on what to do about a dangerous current here. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore.
07/09/2020 – Windsor Star – UWindsor prof worries more beach goers could lead to more drownings
07/08/2020 – WGN 720 AM – Summer safety: Tips for staying safe around water – Dave Benjamin, Co-Founder of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, joins the Ji Suk Yi show to talk about important swimming safety tips to help you and your kids be safe this summer while in the water.
07/08/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Body of missing boater found in Monroe Harbor
Divers found Ameera Muhammad dead in the south end of the harbor within an hour of resuming the search 8:15 a.m. Wednesday in Lake Michigan
07/08/2020 – Fox 11– Swimmers should use caution on the Great Lakes
07/08/2020 – WWMT 3 – Fourth of July drowning numbers released, officials warn of dangerous water conditions
07/08/2020 – Detroit Free Press – Group says Great Lakes drowning cases spiked over holiday weekend
07/08/2020 – UpNorthLive – Report: 863 drownings in Great Lakes since 2010
07/08/2020 – Traverse City Record Eagle – Drownings spike during holiday weekend
07/07/2020 – WLNS – Safety tips before going to take a dip in the water
07/07/2020 – WBBM News Radio 780 – Swimmer In Critical Condition After Being Pulled From Lake Michigan Near Grant Park. So far in 2020, at least 10 people have drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. In 2019, a total of 48 people drowned in Lake Michigan.
07/07/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Sailboat crash sends 4 into water at break wall near filtration plant. The occupants were picked up by the police boat. No one was injured. So far this year, at least 10 people have drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. In 2019, a total of 48 people drowned in Lake Michigan.
07/07/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Chicago man drowns at Evanston beach – Marcos Quito was pulled from the water Monday at Clark Street Beach in the 1800 block of Sheridan Road, authorities said. Monday afternoon, a swimmer was in critical condition after being rescued from Lake Michigan near the Loop. So far this year, at least 10 other people have drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. In 2019, a total of 48 people drowned in Lake Michigan.
07/07/2020 – Cleveland – U.S. Coast Guard saved 45 lives in Great Lakes over July 4 weekend – busiest Independence Day weekend in at least five years, conducting more than 100 search-and-rescue cases and saving or assisting more than 300 people throughout the region.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project has reported 21 drownings on the Great Lakes this year.
— Lake Michigan 10
— Lake Superior 1
— Lake Huron 0
— Lake Erie 6
— Lake Ontario 4
07/06/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Swimmer in critical condition after being pulled from Lake Michigan near Grant Park – The police marine unit responded Monday afternoon to the call of a man in the water in the 500 block of South Lake Shore Drive near Buckingham Fountain.
07/06/2020 – The Weather Network – How COVID-19 fatigue can lead to an increase in summer drownings
07/04/2020 – The Detroit News – The nonprofit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports there have been 20 Great Lakes drownings so far in 2020, and the numbers could climb in the summer’s warmest months as people fail to prepare for hazards such as rip currents, said executive director Dave Benjamin. Monitoring for other issues also is key, he said. “Even if there’s calm water and a light breeze, inflatable beach toys can go out in the water and kids could chase it into water over their head.”
07/04/2020 – Ionia Sentinel Standard – Family hopes memorial plaque reminds swimmers of Lake Michigan dangers
07/03/2020 – Holland Sentinel – Family hopes memorial plaque reminds swimmers of Lake Michigan dangers
07/02/2020 – Fox 17 – New signs warn swimmers, honor young victim — New signs and safety rings were installed in his memory
07/02/2020 – WZZM 13 – Beach memorial serves as reminder of water safety — Brandon Schmidt drowned in Lake Michigan on August 15, 2018
“The township has made some change for water safety which we’re very appreciative,” says Brandon’s father James Schmidt. “Our son passed away here almost two years ago, and they’re installing a plaque in his memory along with those safety changes.”
“He was out here at the beach with some friends and unfortunately came under the water and he didn’t come up,” said James. “After that his mom went before the township board and talked to them and asked them to make some safety changes which they did. Now there are warning signs so people understand the dangers of rip currents.”
Signs of warning are now posted inside Windsnest Park alerting beach goers that no lifeguard is on duty. There are also signs warning the dangers of rip current. A rescue flotation device also now hangs along the boardwalk to the beach access, just beneath Brandon Schmidt’s memorial plaque.
“It’s really great to see that the Port Sheldon beach came through with their promise to install some of their water safety signage as well as some safety equipment,” says Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project executive director, Dave Benjamin.
To date, the GLSRP is tracking 20 Great Lakes drownings in 2020. According to GLSRP data, overall since 2010 they have tracked 858 Great Lakes drownings.
07/02/2020 – Wood TV – Family hopes memorial plaque reminds swimmers of Lake Michigan dangers. “We noticed that at that time there was no signage about the rip currents or the dangers of Lake Michigan,” James Schmidt said. “There (were) no life-saving flotation devices.”
Brandon Schmidt’s mother, Brandi Donley, turned grief into resolve, and then action. In November of that same year, she went to the Port Sheldon Township Board and pleaded for warning signs and other safety equipment.
“The township took action,” James Schmidt said. “So now, there is signage warning people about the rip currents. Warning people about the dangers in Lake Michigan. And there’s life-saving flotation devices.”
The family will probably never know how many people read the signs and heeded the warnings. Or how many lives may have been saved. But they feel in their hearts they made an impact. The plaque at the beach entrance, dedicated on the day before what would have been Brandon Schmidt’s 22nd birthday, is one more part of that effort. “What we hope is that, perhaps through our tragedy, more harms can be prevented, and lives can be saved,” James Schmidt said.
07/02/2020 – Chicago Tribune – Beachgoers, park officials sound alarm for Lake Michigan safety: ‘The majority of our drownings could be prevented’. The lifeguards at the state park are trained to watch for rip currents and shut down swimming if they spot them, she added. “Other beaches don’t have that,” she said, adding when unsafe conditions shut down swimming, swimmers sometimes go to an unguarded beach. “That’s one of our biggest worries. That’s why they shut the beach down. Rip currents are very serious and can pull you away from the beach.”
06/30/2020 – Northwest Indiana Times – Practicing beach safety: Experts weigh in on how to protect yourself, kids during summer
Lifeguards make all the difference. “I believe the best lifeguards you can find on the Great Lakes are surfers,” Benjamin said, because they learn how the waves break and how to conserve energy in the water.
“We want the lifeguards to understand that drowning is one of the largest causes of accidental death,” Benjamin said.
Lifeguards not only have to worry about saving a swimmer in trouble, but also themselves. A person who is drowning is in panic mode and can push a lifeguard or other would-be rescuer under water.
“Unfortunately, a drowning person can climb all over you, and a drowning person can take you under,” Benjamin said.
Knowing the statistics helps look for who is more likely to get into trouble.
Benjamin said 80% of all drowning victims are male.
“Males are more likely to take risks, more susceptible to peer pressure, more likely to overestimate their ability,” he said.
And it doesn’t matter how good a swimmer believes his or her ability is — “66% of all drowning victims were good swimmers,” Benjamin said.
When a swimmer gets in trouble, there’s typically less than one minute until final submersion, he said. Seconds count.
“You have seconds to get to a person before they submerge,” Benjamin aid.
In a lake, unlike in a pool, finding the submerged victim can be tricky because of the visibility and currents.
“Once they submerge, it could be like finding a moving needle in a moving haystack,” Benjamin said. “It becomes a frantic search.”
That response time is why Benjamin strongly urges going to a beach where lifeguards are on duty.
“If you go to a beach without lifeguards, you are on your own,” he said.
At Michigan City’s Washington Park, which doesn’t have lifeguards this year, there are life preserver rings along the pier, but they’re on the opposite side of the beach. There are two rings at the lifeguard station, but that’s set back from the water, Benjamin noted.
Think of the scenario at a beach with no lifeguard.
You’re in the water and see a swimmer in trouble. You either try to rescue the person yourself and risk your own life, or you rush back to your mobile phone and call 911. Minutes pass while you establish your location and get emergency responders to the scene.
Those first responders quickly determine how to coordinate their efforts, and whether tools like SONAR can help pinpoint the victim’s location, but by that time it could be a recovery effort rather than a rescue, Benjamin said.
“This is why lifeguards are so important. They’re first responders on the beach,” Benjamin said.
Learn water safety
Brock advises parents to teach children what to do if you get in trouble in the water.
“Knowing how to swim doesn’t mean you won’t drown,” Benjamin said.
Thatcher knew how to respond if he gets in trouble in the water. Relax, he said.
And float, Benjamin would add. “It’s not how well you can swim, but how well you can float.”
Floating means getting your head above water, becoming more buoyant, and taking deep breaths of air instead of short gulps of water while hyperventilating during a panic attack.
When you’re floating and in control of your natural urge to panic, you can then wave your arm or shout for help, Benjamin said.
“We need to make a cultural change,” Benjamin said, to teach water safety skills early and often.
Schools with pools teach children water safety, but that should happen at all schools, Benjamin said. Being in the water, practicing swimming and floating, helps, but learning the technique could be drilled into students in an auditorium.
“We don’t light kids on fire to teach them ‘stop, drop and roll,’” Benjamin said.
06/26/2020 – Grand Haven Tribune – Swimmers, boaters asked to prepare before heading out on Lake Michigan – Push for lifeguards on beaches
Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, has been pushing for communities to use lifeguards on Great Lakes beaches.
“A lifeguard’s job is to get to the drowning victim before the submersion, interrupt the drowning process, provide flotation and bring the victim back to shore alive,” he said. “And, according to ‘The Process of Drowning Timeline,’ lifeguards are a drowning person’s only hope.”
According to the timeline, it takes less than a minute of struggling in the water for a drowning person to submerge. At around 3 minutes of submersion, the heart stops. At around 4 minutes, irreversible brain damage begins.
Even though first responders can often be at the scene within four minutes, this doesn’t take into account how much time it takes for people to call for help, Benjamin says.
He adds that, at around 10 minutes of submersion, a person only has a 14 percent chance of survival. And those who do survive will likely have brain damage.
Plus, he says, there’s the cost of lifeguards versus a body recovery. Benjamin says the average cost per hour for a U.S. Coast Guard response boat is about $4,500. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter can run as high as $16,000 per hour.
Swintek said boats responding from Grand Haven run in the range of $3,000 to $4,800 per hour, depending on the vessel, its equipment and how much fuel it burns. Running a helicopter out of its summer birth in Muskegon (HH-65 Dolphin) costs about $10,000 per hour. If it comes from Traverse City (HH-60 Jayhawk), the cost is about $11,000 per hour.
Hawke said it would be great to have the funds to pay for lifeguards. In absence of that, he noted that the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety is a leader in water rescue training and is often called to help train personnel from other agencies.
Hawke said that all Grand Haven public safety officers are trained in water safety and water rescue. The officers have new rescue suits and equipment purchased in 2017 through a donation from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.
In 2019, Grand Haven State Park and City Beach posted numbered area signs to help get first responders where they are needed more quickly.
A full-time seasonal officer is also assigned to off-road vehicle patrol of the City Beach and state park, Hawke said. The officer carries rescue equipment and responds to rescue calls.
There are also life rings, an emergency phone and camera system reinstalled on the pier since the recent catwalk replacement.
“Hiring full-time lifeguards is a significant, on-going budget commitment which is a challenge for lakeshore communities,” Hawke noted.
06/24/2020 – ABC 7 – CHICAGO – Keeping Chicago beaches closed could be dangerous, safety experts say
Without lifeguards on duty to watch over those who choose to swim in Lake Michigan, experts are worried it could be a recipe for disaster.
“So much of our lakefront is right up to residences where kids have access to these parks and to the beaches and to the water and we’re doing nothing to protect them,” said Halle Quezada of Chicago Alliance for Water Safety.
Chicago says many social distancing ambassadors are also trained lifeguards. But, they may not necessarily be in a position to help in case of trouble.
“Their backs are to the water, so it could be lifeguards serving as social distance ambassadors, but they’re not lifeguarding,” Quezada said. “Time matters in a drowning incident.”
06/24/2020 – Chicago Sun-Times – Plainfield man drowns at Indiana Dunes National Park. So far in 2020, eight other people have died of drowning in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
06/22/2020 – ABC 57 – Man sacrifices life to rescue 8-year-old drowning in Saint Joseph River – “We see someone in trouble and we immediately want to help, it’s our instinct to just take action,” said Dave Benjamin from Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. But Benjamin says jumping in isn’t the first thing we should do in an emergency. You should immediately throw a flotation device into the water.
As for the person drowning — “You flip over on your back and float,” said Benjamin. “Float to keep your head above water, float to calm yourself down from fear of drowning, float to conserve your energy and then follow a safe path out of the water.”
Also, it’s important for people to be able to spot active signs of drowning. “Facing shore, mouth at water level, head titled back, their body is vertical, less than one minute until submersion,” said Benjamin. And most importantly, Benjamin says you should always have life jackets when around any body of water. “We don’t want someone’s special day at the beach or on the water to become a lifelong tragedy that they now have to bear the burden of.”
Another water safety tip Benjamin’s notes is when renting a kayak or paddle board, you should always ask for a safety briefing beforehand and make sure there is a leash attached to the equipment so you can be pulled back to shore if you have any problems.
06/21/2020 – NBC 5 – Illinois Coronavirus Updates: New Social Distancing Ambassadors, More People at Beaches – Water Safety Concerns Are on the Rise as More People Head to Area Beaches
Since pools closed for summer, more people are heading to the beach. But with high water levels and erosion leading to smaller beach fronts, many are packing in, leading to increased concern over water safety.
Dave Benjamin, co-founder of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, has used this time to educate the public about the risks involved. GLSRP is a non-profit group that tracks drowning statistics and performs presentations and training around the Midwest.
“It’s not common sense that panic is the first stage of drowning. It’s not common knowledge that 66% of all drowning victims were good strong confident swimmers. Knowing how to swim is not enough. You need to know how to survive,” Benjamin said.
Since 2010, there have been more than 850 drownings in the Great Lakes. Benjamin said he hopes to eradicate tragedy with the mantra: Flip, float, follow.
06/21/2020 – CBS 2 – Summer Swimming Safety Tips As Indiana Beaches Reopen – CHICAGO — Beaches are still closed in Illinois, but they are opening up in Indiana. A group that promotes swimming safety says it is a good time to brush on some common sense rules. Dave Benjamin of The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project gave a safety presentation at Wells Street Beach in Gary Saturday. About 30 moms, dads and kids learned how to tell when a swimmer is in trouble and some basic first aid that can save lives. They also discussed surviving hazardous currents and how to use floatation devices and other safety equipment.
06/20/2020 – NBC 5 – Water Safety Concerns Are on the Rise as More People Head to Area Beaches. Since 2010, there have been 854 drownings in the Great Lakes, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. Since pools closed for summer, more people are heading to the beach. But with high water levels and erosion leading to smaller beach fronts, many are packing in, leading to increased concern over water safety. Dave Benjamin, co-founder of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, has used this time to educate the public about the risks involved. GLSRP is a non-profit group that tracks drowning statistics and performs presentations and training around the Midwest. “It’s not common sense that panic is the first stage of drowning. It’s not common knowledge that 66% of all drowning victims were good strong confident swimmers. Knowing how to swim is not enough. You need to know how to survive,” Benjamin said.
06/20/2020 – ABC 7 – Lake Michigan lifeguards emphasize water safety on 1st day of Summer to prevent unintentional drownings
06/15/2020 – The Mikey O Show – Drowning survivor, Evelyn Hernandez, and GLSRP Executive Director, Dave Benjamin, talk about Lake Michigan water safety on the Mikey O Show.
06/14/2020 – NWI Times – MICHIGAN CITY, IN – BYSTANDER RESCUE – NO LIFEGUARDS – two kids were walking along the pier near the lighthouse at Washington Park Beach and ended up in the water. It wasn’t clear if the kids were swimming or had fallen in. Ultimately, the children needed to be rescued. A good Samaritan jumped in the water and saved the children and had a life ring thrown out to them before the Coast Guard arrived on scene. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there have been eight drownings, along with one unknown condition, at Lake Michigan since Jan. 1.
06/11/2020 – WNDU TV 16 – Safety reminders on avoiding beach hazards this summer
06/11/2020 – WNDU TV 16 – Great Lakes Beach Hazard & Safety Awareness Week
06/11/2020 – WNDU TV 16 – Facebook Live – GLSRP and WNDU TV News water safety segment.
06/10/2020 – WXYZ Detroit – Officials emphasize safety after 2 drown in Lake Michigan
06/09/2020 – Huron Daily Tribune – Officials emphasize safety after 2 drown in Lake Michigan
06/09/2020 – Holland Sentinel – COVID furloughs meant no warning flags on Holland beach as two boys drowned
It was a deadly weekend on the Great Lakes, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, an organization that tracks drownings on the Great Lakes.
Dave Benjamin, executive director of public relations and project management at GLSRP, said he was aware of three other likely drownings in the last several days, including a father and son who capsized in Lake Erie and a body that was recovered from Lake Michigan in Chicago.
Benjamin said it’s time for Holland State Park to hire lifeguards.
“There is no excuse to continue to operate these beaches without lifeguards,” Benjamin said. “It’s irresponsible and dangerous, and people die from it.”
The beach was closed to the public Saturday evening and Sunday morning as the search resumed.
Lifeguards are trained to recognize the signs of drowning, which Benjamin said many people misunderstand. Drowning victims often appear to be treading water and often do not wave their arms or yell.
If a person is drowning, there’s a very small window — about four minutes — to rescue them without irreversible brain damage, or, in the worst-case scenario, death.
Benjamin said lifeguards stationed at the beach would be able to respond more quickly to a drowning or a missing child situation than emergency services.
GLSRP recommends the “flip, float, follow” method for drowning survival: flip onto your back, float to keep your head above water and conserve energy and follow the safest path out of the water to safety.
06/09/2020 – MLIVE – Double drowning tragedy underscores danger of Great Lakes – “The thing about drowning is it’s 100 percent preventable,” said David Benjamin, executive director of public relations at the Great Lakes Rescue Surf Project. His organization presents hundreds of educational programs each year, and at the start of each one gives a “pop quiz” on water safety, Benjamin said.
“Ninety percent in attendance will say they know how to swim, and less than 5 percent will know a drowning survival strategy,” he said.
Benjamin is a strong advocate for lifeguards, which most Lake Michigan beaches don’t have. Absent them, it’s up to swimmers to know how to save themselves.
It typically takes too long to get first responders to the scene of a possible drowning for them to perform an actual rescue, Benjamin said.
Educators like Benjamin want the phrase “Flip, Float and Follow” to become as well known as the “Stop, Drop and Roll” instructions for those who catch on fire.
Swimmers who are struggling in water over their heads need to flip on their backs, float to calm themselves and keep their heads above water and then follow – go with, rather than fight – the current until they are able to swim toward shore. Swimming parallel to shore typically is the most effective way of getting out of a current.
06/07/2020 – WNDU – Great Lakes Beach Hazard & Water Safety Awareness Week runs from June 7-13
06/03/2020 – South Bend Tribune – How to avoid crowds and COVID-19 at shrunken beaches of Lake Michigan – Michigan City decided against posting lifeguards at its beach this summer, a move that drew sharp criticism from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project as its director, Dave Benjamin, said, “Removing lifeguards will cost lives and the cost to recover a body is much greater than the lifeguards’ salaries.”
The advocacy group reported 48 drownings in Lake Michigan in 2019, two of them in Michigan City and seven total in northwest Indiana, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.
City officials countered that the pandemic interfered with their ability to recruit and train lifeguards and argued that rescues could put guards at risk of the virus, The Times reported.
05/29/2020 – Chicago Tribune – Column: Near-drowning experience prompts Hobart man to alert others to summertime hazard as beaches reopen
As cliché as it sounds to anyone who hasn’t had a near-death experience, Bokun’s life flashed through his mind, he said. He thought about his wife, Elise, his children, his granddaughter, and even his unborn grandchildren he hopes to enjoy someday. Faces of close friends and family members also flashed by. All in a matter of seconds.
“In that moment, as I yelled out, I felt a peaceful calm come over me,” Bokun recalled.
In a moment that will not ever be forgotten or dismissed, Bokun began reflecting on what just happened to him. The cold water. The panic. The terror. The flash of memories. The odd yet peaceful calm.
“It was the scariest thing, but…” Bokun told me after his family returned from Tennessee.
But… the experience has somehow changed him. Almost immediately. Without a doubt, profoundly, though he’s not quite sure how. Not yet. He’s still processing it
That day, Bokun returned to the family’s rented home near Spencer, Tennessee, joining his wife, his daughter, Alissa Baron, and other family members. Bokun never once thought about the dangers of hypothermia while swimming under a waterfall, especially in springtime in Tennessee.
“I never thought of any of that before jumping into the water,” Bokun said.
With summer weather here, people will be jumping into the potentially dangerous waters of Lake Michigan more often than in previous years, I predict. Most public swimming pools will be closed due to COVID-19 concerns and other entertainment options such as fairs and festivals are getting canceled for the summer season.
Also factor in that some budget-restricted municipalities, such as Michigan City, are not hiring lifeguards this year. Water levels are higher, beaches are thinner and more people will be converging at beaches for outdoor recreation. (Read my previous column on Indiana Dunes State Park beach last weekend as an example.)
My other prediction: There will be more drownings than usual in our nearest Great Lake. This possibility has been a public health danger for many years, as anyone knows who keeps track of these deaths and near deaths.
According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there have already been at least five Great Lakes drownings this year, with three of them in Lake Michigan. Keep in mind that summer is still three weeks away, officially.
Since 2010, the organization has tracked 843 Great Lakes drownings, with 97 in 2019 and a record 117 in 2018. Drownings in Lake Michigan are a statistical surety.
Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, told me that the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is a hazard for potential drownings.
“The water erosion and debris is out of control. No one should go swimming there,” he said.
It hasn’t stopped visitors from swimming there this spring. And it won’t stop them as summer emerges. The water beckons visitors like a dip under a waterfall.
I’ve written too many columns on drowning deaths in Lake Michigan. Bokun has read too many stories about people who’ve drowned in that lake without the stereotypical image of flailing arms and desperate screams. Many of those victims simply go under and don’t come up.
“They say when you drown there’s no pain because when you yell there’s no one there to hear you,” Bokun said.
05/28/2020 – NWI Times – Pandemic squashes hiring of lifeguards, officials say; safety advocates contend danger’s ahead
05/28/2020 – Journal Sentinel – Wisconsin’s closed pools, lack of beach lifeguards and high water levels create ‘the perfect storm’ for Great Lakes drownings
With many public pools closed this summer because of coronavirus, folks looking to cool off will likely head to packed beaches.
Strapped local governments are not hiring lifeguards, which means places like Bradford Beach in Milwaukee won’t be staffed to handle emergencies.
Add in record high Lake Michigan water levels, which can create bigger waves and stronger rip currents, plus erosion that has reduced the size of some beaches, and it’s no wonder Great Lakes water safety officials are worried.
Last year there were 97 drownings on the Great Lakes — roughly half on Lake Michigan — and a record 117 in 2018.
“It’s kind of the perfect storm for Great Lakes drownings,” said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
“Higher water levels, smaller beaches, more people on the beach, it’s easy to lose track of your children on a crowded beach.
“And canceling lifeguards is a huge setback,” Benjamin said.
This week Bradford Beach has been crammed as temperatures hit the 70s and 80s.
A fully staffed Bradford Beach would have 14 lifeguards working seven days a week for 10 weeks at a total cost of $70,000.
Benjamin cautioned that most drownings don’t look like what happens in a movie — people don’t wave their arms and thrash around.
Instead, drownings are subtle and look like someone with their head above water. Which can mean someone who is fine or someone about to slip beneath the surface.
That’s where lifeguards who know what to look for and typically sit on high platforms can notice someone about to drown, Benjamin said.
Jamie Racklyeft, executive director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, pointed out that untrained beachgoers who try to save someone in distress often become casualties themselves. Since drownings happen within minutes, calling 911 to summon help often means first responders end up recovering bodies rather than saving lives.
Plus most people think they know how to swim and are unaware how quickly a rip current can pull them or their companions away from shore.
Swimmers who find themselves in trouble should follow the drowning survival strategy of flip, float and follow — flipping on their back to stay calm, floating to conserve energy and following the safest path out of the water which often means swimming parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current.
05/26/2020 – CBS 58 – Staying Safe on Lake Michigan As Temps Warm — With warm weather finally here, many folks may flock to the beach to stay cool over the coming months. And we want you to stay safe from dangerous swimming conditions this season. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there were 97 drownings on the Great Lakes last year. The year prior to that had a record 117 fatalities. Sadly, most of these drownings happen on our nearby pond, Lake Michigan. This year already reports 5 deaths, again the majority on Lake Michigan. The eastern shore is particularly hazardous due to the prevailing wind direction leading to favorable current development. Locally, since 2002, there have been 17 related deaths at Lake Michigan beaches from Sheboygan to Kenosha.
05/25/2020 – Herald-Argus – Water safety activist says not having lifeguards ‘will cost lives’
05/25/2020 – WSBT-TV – No Lifeguards, Michigan City Warns Beachgoers to Swim at their Own Risk
05/24/2020 – ABC 57 – Beachgoers angry as Michigan City declines to provide lifeguards — MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. — A water safety advocate and other beachgoers are calling out local government officials after the city reportedly decided not to include lifeguards at Washington Park Beach for Summer 2020, including this weekend.
05/24/2020 – Record Eagle – Warm air, cold water create deadly situation — The frigid water, high water levels and the fact that public pools are closed because of COVID-19 have created the perfect storm for cold water drownings, said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit that tracks drownings and advocates for Great Lakes water safety.
“We’re going to have a lot of people at the beach,” Benjamin said.
Statistics at the organization’s website show that 843 people have drowned in the Great Lakes since 2010, with 97 of them taking place last year.
So far this year there have been five Great Lakes drownings, three of them in Lake Michigan.
Boat sales have also spiked nationally, according to International Boat Industry magazine, which means there will be a lot of inexperienced first-time boat owners out there, Benjamin said. They may not understand the need to check weather conditions before going out or realize the dangers of jumping off a boat to take a swim, he said.
Add to that the amount of trees and other debris that has washed into the Great Lakes with the high water and becoming another hazard for boaters and swimmers alike, he said.
“All these hazards are leading right into Memorial weekend,” Benjamin said.
Water that is below 70 degrees is considered dangerous and can quickly lead to hypothermia and death, according to the National Center for Cold Water Safety.
Benjamin cites the 1-10-1 rule of hypothermia for anyone considering a swim in dangerously cold waters: One minute to control your breathing, 10 minutes until you are unable to move, one hour for hypothermia to set in.
The rule was coined by Gordon Giesbrecht, a Canadian physiologist who has studied the effects of extreme cold on the body.
Sudden immersion in cold water causes a gasp reflex and hyperventilation, with a person having about a minute to get their breathing under control before drowning. If they can do that, they’ll have about 10 minutes until incapacitation sets in and a person loses the ability to move and is unable to swim to shore or climb back into a boat.
Hypothermia will set in over the next hour. A person will become unconscious and their heart will stop.
“If a person doesn’t have a life jacket they are going to die of drowning before they die of hypothermia,” Benjamin said.
It takes three minutes of submersion in water for a person’s heart to stop; after four minutes irreversible brain damage begins. After 10 minutes underwater there is about a 14 percent revival rate, and most will be left with a traumatic brain injury, Benjamin said.
Life jackets are required by law for anyone going out in a boat, but it does no good if they are not wearing it, Belanger said. He has seen people who struggled to put one on after a kayak rolls over, but the lake just tears it away.
“Unless you have the darn thing on, it doesn’t do you any good,” Belanger said.
05/25/2020 – Herald-Argus – Water safety activist says not having lifeguards ‘will cost lives’
05/23/2020 – Windsor News – Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project looking to flatten the curve of drownings – WINDSOR, ONT. — As Coronavirus cabin fever mixes with summer excitment, many people want to get out and jump in the pool or lake.
“This summer we could see the perfect storm for drownings in the Great Lakes region.” said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. “Many public pools across the Great Lakes region may be closed for the summer or have delayed openings, which means that many more people will be going to the beach.”
Since 2010, The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) has tracked over 843 Great Lakes drownings.
The not-for-profit group says drowning numbers will go down as more people, especially children, are educated about the many aspects of water safety.
The project wants everyone to learn the drowning survival technique; ‘flip, float and follow‘.
Executive director of education, Bob Pratt says it’s like the ‘stop, drop and roll‘ of water safety. “It gives kids something to focus on if they are struggling in the water. Flip over onto their back so they can breath when they want to, float to calm themselves down, float to conserve their energy and then follow a safe course back to safety. If we can just control that panic and get people to calm down, they’re half way to being saved.”
05/22/2020 – News Dispatch – Water safety activist says not having lifeguards ‘will cost lives’ – MICHIGAN CITY — A decision to terminate the lifeguard program at Washington Park beach will “cost lives,” according to a man who tracks drownings on the Great Lakes
“With many beaches closed due to erosion, Washington Park will see an increase in visitors,” said Dave Benjamin, co-founder and executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
“Our visitors have come to expect lifeguards at Washington Park. Our lakefront is a deceptively dangerous place to swim. We need lifeguards at Washington Park.”
He said not only do “Lifeguards save lives,” but they “educate the public about their specific beach hazards when patrons come to the beach.
“Removing lifeguards will cost lives and the cost to recover a body is much greater than the lifeguards’ salaries.”
He cited the cost of the body recovery for the U.S. Coast Guard, county dive teams, police departments, and fire departments, as well as the overtime and fuel for the helicopter and boats used in the recovery.
He cited news reports that a Coast Guard helicopter search can run as high as $16,000 an hour.
“That’s $384,000 per 24-hour day just for the Coast Guard response,” Benjamin said. “Add the city and county resources and you can run almost $500,000 a day for a single body recovery.”
He said it makes more sense “to spend that money on the front end” by providing lifeguards.
“In addition there’s the lost revenue for closing the beach and negative publicity to overcome with the drowning. Lifeguards make sense … Common sense and financial sense,” Benjamin said.
Other Indiana beaches with lifeguards include Whiting, Gary, West Beach in the Indiana Dunes National Park, and Indiana Dunes State Park, he said.
Even with lifeguards at many beaches, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project expects to see an increase in drownings this summer.
As of April 9, there have been five drownings in the Great Lakes so far in 2020, three in Lake Michigan. In 2019, there were 97 drownings in the Great Lakes, 48 in Lake Michigan, according to the GLSRP.
Nine of last year’s drowning were in Northwest Indiana, including two in Michigan City.
Since 2010 there have been more than 843 drownings in the Great Lakes, and for the 2020 swim season “several factors could lead to a deadly summer,” Benjamin said.
Those include “coronavirus cabin fever”; public pools being closed, cold lake water, high water levels, beach erosion and debris in the lake.
“As states start to loosen shelter-in-place restrictions and the economy restarts, people want to get out,” Benjamin said.
“This summer we could see the perfect storm for drownings in the Great Lakes region. Many public pools may be closed or have delayed openings, which means that many more people will be going to the beach.”
Natural factors could also add to the danger, he said.
“Because of the higher water levels and erosion, many beaches will have less beach space, so even as social distancing measures are put in place, beaches could still end up packed.”
And boat sales are up across the country as Americans search for socially distant fun, he said.
“There may be a lot of first-time boat buyers on the Great Lakes and they need to understand the basics of water safety like filing float plans, understanding changing marine forecasts, avoiding extra debris in the water, wearing lifejackets, and surviving cold water immersion,” Benjamin said. For more information on water safety, visit www.glsrp.org/water-safety/.
05/21/2020 – News Dispatch – Budget woes, lack of applicants mean no lifeguards at Washington Park – MICHIGAN CITY —Visitors to the lakefront at Washington Park are advised to swim at their own risk this summer, as the city has not hired lifeguards for the season.
City Controller Yvonne Hoffmaster broke the news to the Michigan City Common Council during a workshop on city finances Tuesday.
And despite the disapproval of several council members, Mayor Duane Parry said Thursday during a telephone interview that his hands are tied.
“Normally, Michigan City doesn’t start their lifeguards until Memorial Day weekend,” he said. “And so we sent out a letter on Feb. 6 announcing that we were going to be recruiting lifeguards; and then we did a press release on Feb. 7. But we got no replies.”
The initial lack of response was not concerning for Parry, he said, as it would be months until lifeguards would be needed. And when the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the city in mid-March, the lifeguard issue fell off his radar.
“We already knew that we were going to be tight financially,” he said. “But we didn’t know exactly how tight we were going to be. We were still resolving the $3.4 million shortfall that we discovered shortly after I took office in January.”
As Hoffmaster explained during Tuesday’s council workshop, the city has lost $1.1 million in revenue per month since the Blue Chip Casino and Washington Park shut down.
She discussed the city’s cash flow projections through September and other additional revenues, noting that if the casino and park were to remain closed throughout the summer, the Municipal Fund would go into the red by October unless the city were to borrow from itself or another source.
But the city began issuing park stickers on Thursday, and will begin collecting for parking at Washington Park on Saturday.
And Hoffmaster has been researching how the city might have access to coronavirus relief funds from the federal and state governments.
Also good for city finances will be the $1.7 million in pension relief funds scheduled to arrive before the end of May; the anticipated reopening of the casino on June 14; and tax disbursements that should be released within the next several weeks.
She projected the city’s cash balance at the end of the year will be just over $6 million; and for a point of reference, noted it was just over $12 million on Jan. 1.
“Looking forward to the end of the year, our cash position to me is still concerning,” Hoffmaster said. “We are going to continue to limit spending and watch our revenues closely…
“I believe with close monitoring and watchful spending, that the city will come out of this on the other side OK, and that we will not have to reduce our workforce or reduce any of the services that our … residents have become used to.”
Of course, residents are used to having lifeguards at the Washington Park beach.
The mayor said Thursday that it worked out for city finances that only one lifeguard application has been submitted this year, as the city typically spends $130,000 per summer on lifeguard wages.
So, instead of manning the lifeguard station, “Swim At Your Own Risk” signs will be installed, and the Michigan City Police Department will perform frequent beach patrols, he said.
“People don’t realize how much we’ve been cutting ends because we don’t know how long the COVID pandemic is going to last,” Parry said. “We couldn’t go on at our current expenditures like nothing is wrong because we would have been out of money by July 15.
“I’m not unsympathetic. … But my job is the survival of Michigan City and its future. So, that’s what motivated me to take the position that this year we’re not going to have lifeguards.”
05/11/2020 – HF Chronicle – After nearly drowning, Homewood man works for prevention
04/23/2020 – Chicago Tribune – Community news: Homewood man named Lifesaver of the Year for drowning prevention efforts — Homewood resident Dave Benjamin, cofounder and executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, has won the 2020 National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s “Lifesaver of the Year” award.
04/14/2020 – Patch – Homewood Man Wins ‘Lifesaver of The Year’ Award – Dave Benjamin has been recognized for his efforts to prevent drownings across the Great Lakes.
04/02/2020 – NDPA Lifesaver of the Year Award Acceptance Speech
01/13/2020 – Up North Live – Army Corps of Engineers: High water levels cause increase in Great Lakes hazards
01/13/2020 – WBCK FM – Six Ways High Lake Levels Can Kill You – 3. Rip Currents… To get out of a rip current, it is advised to “Flip, Float, Follow” until the current subsides to save your energy and reduce your risk of drowning.
12/27/2019 – MLIVE – Beach town seeks input on lifeguards, fines for swimmers after spike in Lake Michigan drownings – SOUTH HAVEN, MI — Residents in a Southwest Michigan city are encouraged to take a survey meant to help city leaders make the shoreline community safer after an increased number of drownings seen in Lake Michigan this year.
12/24/2019 – WWMT – Top 3 West Michigan weather stories of 2019 — New statistics from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project showed Lake Michigan drowning deaths were up compared to 2018. Through July 31, 2019, there were 52 Great Lakes drownings, with 27 of those occurring in Lake Michigan, making 2019 a 80% increase through the start of August.
11/17/2019 – Valliant News – Michigan mission: Reduce drownings – Nonprofit groups, such as the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, have been teaching school children of all ages about water safety and what to do in the event of a potential drowning. “There’s been a real push in education the past couple years because the statistics are increasing,” said Sue Jennings, a wildlife biologist at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. She also serves as a peer counselor for staff and visitors in times of tragedies or rescue operations. The park had three drownings last year. “You know there have been drownings over the years, but it’s not until you start adding them up that you go, ‘Wow,’” she said.
10/25/2019 – NBC 5 Brandt Miller – In 2012 the GLSRP pioneered the “Flip, Float, and Follow” drowning survival technique to the public and media, and here is a Chicagoland woman crediting it for saving her life when she was on vacation this October. “Flip, Float and Follow” is the result of input from a variety of first responders and water safety groups that participated in the Great Lakes Water Safety Conference, sponsored by Michigan Sea Grant in 2011. In the spring of 2012, the GLSRP endorsed Flip, Float, and Follow and have been advocating it to the media and public ever since.
10/13/2019 – Holland Sentinel – Deadly currents stalk swimmers
10/01/2010 – The News Dispatch – Splashing around to save lives – Coolspring kids get tips on not becoming a Lake Michigan statistic
09/25/2019 – The Great Lakes Echo – Would lifeguards make the Great Lakes safer?
09/20/2019 – Capital News Service – Would lifeguards make the Great Lakes safer?
09/19/2019 – WWMT – New life jacket loaner station hopes to curb Lake Michigan drownings — Safe Kids of Greater South Haven, led by Bronson South Haven Hospital, spearheaded the project. The group worked with volunteer Deegan Boyles, who build the loaner station as his eagle scout project in memory of his grandfather. Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reported 36 drownings on Lake Michigan so far this year as of September 19, 2019.
09/18/2019 – MLIVE – Man stranded on Northern Michigan pier by high waves, rescued by Coast Guard — The man, who was in his 40s and not local to the Frank-Elberta area, planned to stay overnight on the pier on Thursday, Sept. 12. He woke Friday morning to find he couldn’t get back to shore because 3- to 4-foot waves were crashing over the walkway. He was rescued around 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, and handed over a gear box before getting on the Coast Guard vessel. During this year of record and near-record lake levels in the Great Lakes, drownings in Lake Michigan stand at 36, according to Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. There have been 76 in all five Great Lakes as of Sept. 18.
09/11/2019 – Cleveland.com – After kayaker death, Cuyahoga River Safety Task Force talks safety measures
08/31/2019 – WNEM 5 – How to stay safe in the water this Labor Day weekend
08/31/2019 – Mining Journal – High water – Officials urge caution at beaches, breakwaters, harbors, marinas
08/30/2019 – WSBT – Experts talk about how to stay safe in the water for Labor Day weekend
08/29/2019 – Univision – Revelan preocupante cifra por ahogamientos en el lago Michigan en lo que va del 2019. La organización Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project dio a conocer que en el lago se han registrado en total 27 muertes durante este año, es decir, 12 más que en el mismo periodo del 2018. Piden tomar precauciones al entrar al agua.
08/27/2019 – The Weather Channel – Lake Michigan’s Deadly Waves Prompt Warnings for Swimmers and Boaters in Illinois and Michigan
08/26/2019 – Univision – Revelan alarmantes cifras de muertes por ahogamiento en el lago Michigan – Según datos de Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, una organización que monitorea accidentes
08/26/2019 – NBC 5 Chicago – Lake Michigan Safety Warning – Strong winds and dangerous waves continued to kick up on Chicago’s lakefront Monday after a weekend in which two people died in drownings. NBC 5’s Christian Farr reports.
08/25/2019 – WLS 7 Chicago – Beach Hazard in effect for 5th day; 2 drown in Lake Michigan over weekend
O8/25/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Potentially Life-Threatening Waves, Currents Persist On Lake Michigan
08/25/2019 – WLS 7 Chicago – 2 men drown in Lake Michigan over weekend; 14 rescued after boat capsizes
08/23/2019 – NBC KWQC – Illinois man dies while trying to save girl in Lake Michigan
08/23/2019 – News Dispatch – Body found off West Beach in Porter County
08/23/2019 – WBEZ – 10:05:37 AM: …Ireland jumped into grab her but was overwhelmed by the waves by cards Rescue the girl to the D.A. died despite efforts to revive him the National weather service says waves could be as high as 6 feet today through the evening great lakes Surf Rescue Project says more than 30 people have down like michigan illinois and other States
08/22/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – 34 Drownings In Lake Michigan So Far This Year, Advocacy Group Says
08/20/2019 – Detroit Free Press – Warren teen falls in Lake Huron at Port Austin, nearly drowns
08/06/2019 – WTMJ 4 – Search for missing swimmer changed to recovery effort
08/06/2019 – MLIVE – Search continues for teen who went missing in Lake Michigan
08/06/2019 – MLIVE – South Haven residents push for lifeguards after rash of Lake Michigan drownings
08/06/2019 – Holland Sentinel – Report shows Lake Michigan drownings up 87 percent
08/05/2019 – CBS 3 WWMT – UPDATED South Haven public brings lifeguard concerns to city council
08/05/2019 – CBS 3 WWMT – South Haven public scheduled to bring lifeguard concerns to city council
08/05/2019 – CBC – 2019 on track for record number of Great Lakes drownings
08/04/2019 – WZZM – Lake Michigan drownings up 87% in 2019, group says – To date in 2019, there have been 54 drownings in all the Great Lakes.
08/03/2019 – NBC 5 Chicago – Lake Michigan drownings up 87% over last year.
08/03/2019 – Chicago Press – Group: Lake Michigan Drownings up 87% Over Last Year
08/01/2019 – WBEZ – Morning Shift – Lake Michigan Drownings Are On The Rise. Here’s Your Water Safety Primer.
08/01/2019 – WWMT – Lake Michigan drownings up 80% over last year
08/01/2019 – NBC 25 News – Ascension Genesys Health Club explains rip current danger
07/31/2019 – Lakeshore Public Radio – All Things Considered – Regionally Speaking – Today: We talk with Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project about the alarming number of drownings in Lake Michigan this year — although he says it’s been worse in the past. He talks about a recent rescue effort that he personally joined in, at Washington Park beach in Michigan City, and offers tips to swimmers when they step into Lake Michigan.
07/31/2019 – Rogers Edge Reporter – Wave Warning Once Again on Lakefront Beaches
07/31/2019 – FOX News 11 – Great Lakes water levels raise breakwater safety concerns
07/31/2019 – WMUK 102.1 – Safety Group Says Great Lakes Drownings Are Preventable
07/30/2019 – Duluth Tribune – Lake Michigan drownings up 80% from this time last year
This year, more people have drowned in Lake Michigan than the other Great Lakes combined.
07/30/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Threat Of Dangerous Waves, Currents Prompts Warning About Beach Hazards
07/30/2019 – Holland Sentinel – Police: Being a hero isn’t always the safest bet during water rescues
07/30/2019 – WKZO – Great Lakes drowning deaths are now over 50 so far this year – Lake Michigan has the highest rate of drowning occurrences.
07/30/2019 – WTVB – Great Lakes drowning deaths are now over 50 so far this year – Lake Michigan has the highest rate of drowning occurrences.
07/30/2019 – ABC 57 – Lake Michigan drownings are way up in 2019
07/30/2019 – Tri-County Times – Drowning deaths up on Lake Michigan – Swimmers and boaters on Great Lakes and inland lakes should heed caution from ‘pop up’ storms and high winds
07/30/2019 – Click On Detroit – Officials issue warning about massive uptick in Great Lakes drownings this year – Drowning deaths on Lake Michigan up 80% this year
07/30/2019 – Herald Mail Media – Lake Michigan drownings up 80% from this time last year
07/30/2019 – Fox 17 – Lake Michigan drownings nearly double; on pace to be the deadliest year on the Great Lakes
07/30/2019 – Northwest Indiana Times – Victim of state park drowning identified; incident believed accidental
07/30/2019 – Huron Daily Tribune – Boaters rescue teen swept off pier into Lake Michigan
07/30/2019 – MLIVE – Great Lakes drowning deaths increasing, Lake Michigan drownings have nearly doubled
07/29/2019 – News/Talk 94.9 WSJM – Lake Michigan Drownings In 2019 Up Sharply From 2018
07/29/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Drownings On The Rise In Lake Michigan
07/29/2019 – NBC 5 Chicago – Local Experts Hope Water Safety Workshop Avoids More Lake Deaths
07/28/2019 – ABC 7 Chicago – Lake Michigan drownings up 80 percent this year, water safety group says
07/29/2019 – WWJ Newsradio 950 – Swim Warning Issued In Lake Michigan After 80 Percent Spike In Drownings – Every weekend brings more cases
07/29/2019 – The Detroit News – Great Lakes drownings on record pace again
07/29/2019 – ABC 13 on your side – Certified lifeguard says swimmers should pay attention to flags, conditions at Lake Mich. Beaches – There have been 27 drownings in Lake Michigan in 2019.
07/29/2019 – MIX 95.7 – Dangerous conditions on Lake Michigan expected again Monday
07/29/2019 – WTOL 11 Toledo – Experts offer drowning prevention strategies after 12 people drown in Lake Erie – In all of the Great Lakes, 50 people have drowned in 2019.
07/29/2019 – WBBM News Radio 780 – Drownings In Lake Michigan Up 80 Percent Over Last Year: Report
07/29/2019 – 9 & 10 News – Swimmers at Risk on Lake Michigan: Winds Cause High Waves, Currents
07/29/2019 – Chicago Tribune – Lake Michigan Drownings up 80% over this time last year
07/29/2019 – Chicago Sun-Times – Drownings in Lake Michigan up 80% over last year: report
Drownings in Lake Michigan account for over half of the total drownings in all five great lakes
07/29/2019 – NBC 24 – Drowning victim identified, officials urge water safety
07/29/2019 – Detroit News – Warning issued for dangerous swimming conditions on Lake Michigan beaches
07/29/2019 – CBS 3 WWMT – South Haven beachgoers swim despite red flag warning of dangerous conditions
07/28/2019 – UpNorthLive – GLSRP: Lake Michigan drownings up 80 percent over last year
07/28/2019 – Detroit News – Lake Michigan drownings up 80% since last year 51 Great Lakes drownings in 2019; 27 in Lake Michigan
07/28/2019 – Huron Daily Tribune – Warnings posted for Monday on Michigan side of Lake Michigan
07/28/2019 – Detroit Free Press – Dangerous conditions expected at Lake Michigan beaches Monday
07/27/2019 – Holland Sentinel – Group: Lake Michigan worst Great Lake for drownings – LUDINGTON — West Michigan is home to the deadliest Great Lake when it comes to drownings, according to new numbers from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
GLSRP says half of the 44 Great Lakes drownings that have happened so far this year took place in Lake Michigan. Additionally, one person pulled from Lake Michigan was last listed in critical condition, and two scuba divers from Illinois who died in the big lake.
Great Lakes drownings in 2019 (As of July 24, 2019):
Lake Michigan: 22 drownings
Lake Erie: 10 drownings
Lake Ontario: 6 drownings
Lake Huron: 5 drownings
Lake Superior: 2 drownings
GLSRP says since 2010, 784 people have lost their lives in Lakes Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Great Lakes drownings spiked at 117 last year, with the water claiming 29 more lives than the year prior.
The most recent Lake Michigan drowning involved 18-year-old Daniel McCarthy of Baldwin, who got caught in a current along with eight other swimmers, but never made it to shore. Crews recovered his body around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday at Ludington State Park. Read the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s full drowning summary at www.glsrp.org/statistics.
07/27/2019 – Holland Sentinel – Man drowns in Lake Michigan near Holland
07/27/2019 – Northwest Indiana Times – 35-year-old Michigan man dies after slipping under water at Indiana Dunes State Park
07/27/2019 – The Sandusky Register – How can Nickel Plate be safer?
Benjamin said a lifeguard would have an immediate impact. That’s because a lifeguard could educate people on where currents are located and help prevent swimmers from getting carried out into the lake.
But White is resistant to that idea. He pointed out at Tuesday’s city council meeting they had trained rescue professionals in the water trying to find Young, but it was so bad that some of them got into trouble.
“So I worry about the additional risk posed to lifeguards who would come to the beach,” White said. “But with that being said, it’s something to be considered.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, several people gave suggestions of limiting the area where swimming is allowed to a shallower depth.
“We’ve talked about defining a swim area that would be no farther than 4-feet deep and move it away from the pier,” White said. “The tremendous force and energy that’s created reverberate some length down the beach and there are going to be conditions where I don’t think it’s going to be safe even with those safety features in place.”
It’s for this reason that after Martin’s death, the city checked the beach’s condition each morning to see if it was safe to open. But White wants to be able to close it at any time.
“What’s most import is the detection of the turning of events,” White said. “I think council through its vested power in my office should be able to close the beach Monday morning, Friday afternoon, Sunday, it doesn’t matter.”
The city doesn’t have a policy in place for closing the beach on the weekend when the staff is off, and White said that’s the situation they got into on Sunday with Young.
His office is researching a warning system that records wind and wave activity and could set off an alarm or strobe light when it’s too dangerous to be in the water.
White said the city is also in the process of relocating the rescue box closer to the water and including life jacket in it as well as the life ring. The city is also looking into a program to provide the police department with a personal watercraft to store at the beach.
Another option Benjamin suggested, updating the signage to be specific to the dangers at the beach, is already underway. White said the city has placed an order to erect six signs along the beach with information on rip currents and what to do in an emergency situation.
What to do if you’re stuck in a current?
The project advocates for people to use the “Flip, Float and Follow” method, which tells the person who is struggling to flip over, float on their back and to not fight against the current.
The toughest thing to do if you’re caught in a rip current is to swim directly to shore,” Oudeman said.
Once a person figures out which way the current is moving they should swim perpendicular to the current until they’re out of it. Benjamin said education inside schools is the best and most cost efficient way to try to prevent the number of drownings.
“Public education is the missing piece of the puzzle for water safety,” Benjamin said. “Schools have fire drills, active shooter drills and tornado drills, but drowning kills more children every year than fires, guns and tornados.”
Benjamin wants the “Flip, Float and Follow” slogan to become as well known to people as the “Stop, Drop and Roll” motto taught to children during fire safety.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources both recommend people wear life jackets when going into the lake.
07/27/2019 – UpNorthLive – GLSRP: Beware of offshore winds on Great Lakes
MICHIGAN (WPBN/WGTU) — The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Projects debuted its latest water safety illustration to address the dangers of offshore winds and side-offshore winds.
“Inflatable toys like rafts, ducks, unicorns, swans and other objects can get blown fast and far offshore when the wind is blowing from the land and out to open water,” GLSRP Executive Director Dave Benjamin said. “We hope that this new illustration can educate the public as fast as these toys can float out.”
During offshore winds, the water at the shoreline can be deceptively calm, but the farther one gets from shore, the winds become stronger and the water can become choppy.
According to the GLSRP, on Sunday, July 14, 2019 a 33-year-old mother drowned in Lake Ontario trying to rescue her six-year-old son who got carried away from shore while floating on an inflatable unicorn.
On Monday, July 15, 2019 a toddler was on an inflatable duck in Michigan City, Indiana that was blown out to open water by a side-offshore wind.
“Southernly winds will be blowing today. It can cause offshore wind conditions for Indiana and side-offshore winds for northern Illinois, southeast Wisconsin, and southwest Michigan,” Benjamin said. “As the winds travel farther north, the winds may also create waves and dangerous currents such as longshore currents, rip currents, and structural currents. The south sides (windward sides) of all piers will be the most turbulent and the dangerous spots on Lake Michigan.”
The GLSRP is tracking 49 Great Lakes drownings in 2019, 25 of which occurred in Lake Michigan. The GLSRP recorded 117 in 2018
07/26/2019 – Cleveland 19 – Officials warning swimmers of dangers in Lake Erie; 2019 could set record for drownings
07/26/2019 – WZZM ABC 13 – NWS warns beachgoers of dangerous swimming conditions Saturday – “We strongly advise NOT going into the water.”
07/26/2019 – Detroit News – Beware boaters and swimmers: High winds on Great Lakes this weekend – Dave Benjamin, executive director of public relations and project management for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, said looking at the warm weekend, southerly winds can cause offshore wind conditions for southeast Michigan. “As the winds travel farther north, the winds will also create waves and dangerous currents such as long-shore currents, rip currents and structural currents,” Benjamin said. “The south sides (windward sides) of all piers will be the most turbulent and dangerous spots on Lake Michigan.”
07/26/2019 – Fox 17 – Lake Michigan drownings up 58% over last year – As officials continue to search for a missing father who drowned at Ludington State Park, a group is urging safety on the water this weekend. Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says Lake Michigan drownings are up 58% over this date in 2018 and the numbers are likely to continue to rise. In 2019 the GLSRP is tracking 44 Great Lakes drownings; 22 of those in Lake Michigan.
“The ‘4 W’s – warm, wind, waves and weekend- may come into play this weekend bringing more people to the beach. Winds are the primary source of the dangerous currents on the Great Lakes,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP Executive Director. “Southernly winds blowing this weekend can cause offshore wind conditions for Indiana, side-offshore winds for northern Illinois, southwest Wisconsin, and southeast Michigan. “As the winds travel farther north, the winds will also create waves and dangerous currents such as longshore currents, rip currents, and structural currents. The south sides (windward sides) of all piers will be the most turbulent and dangerous spots on Lake Michigan.”
07/26/2019 – Detroit Free Press – Drowning deaths on Lake Michigan have skyrocketed this year
07/26/2019 – Michigan Radion NPR – Reports of drowning in Lake Michigan are higher this year than last, group says
07/25/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Man Dies After Being Pulled From Water At Rainbow Beach
07/25/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Lake Michigan Drownings Up 57 Percent This Year, Water Safety Group Says
07/25/2019 – Northwest Indiana Times – EDITORIAL: Keep your wits when venturing into the lake
07/25/2019 – WILX NBC 10 – Lake Michigan more dangerous for swimmers
07/25/2019 – WBCK FM – Almost 800 People have Drowned in the Great Lakes Since 2010
07/25/2019 – WLNS – 44 Great Lakes drownings reported in 2019
07/24/2019 – WXYZ Detroit – 44 people have drowned in the Great Lakes in 2019
07/24/2019 – WOOD TV – Group: Lake Michigan worst Great Lake for drownings SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN
07/24/2019 – NBC WKYC 3 CLEVELAND – Near-drowning survivor issues Great Lakes safety warning – Be safe versus sorry while enjoying the water. “You never play in fire but you know a fire survival strategy, you always play in water every summer, every vacation, every pool that you go to you play in water but very few people know a drowning survival strategy.”
07/22/2019 – The Neighbor – UPDATE: Five fatal drownings at Lake Michigan beaches in the Region this year, officials say
07/23/2019 – News Dispatch – Man pulled from lake dies in ICU – MC man is second fatality in two weeks off Washington Park
07/23/2019 – Star Beacon – Woman pushes for water safety education
07/22/2019 – FOX 6 – Breakwater safety hazards up with high Great Lakes water levels
07/22/2019 – WSBT – 21 people drowned in Lake Michigan this year. Here’s what to know before going for a swim
07/22/2019 – WNDU – Warnings of Lake Michigan dangers come after swimming deaths
07/22/2019 – ABC 57 – Mother creates petition to bring lifeguards back to South Haven
07/22/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Lake Michigan Drownings Continue Despite Warnings
07/22/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Chicago Weather: Beach Hazard Statement, Small Craft Advisory For Lake Michigan
07/22/2019 – Northwest Indiana Times – UPDATE: Five fatal drownings at Lake Michigan beaches in the Region this year, officials say
07/22/2019 – ABC 57 – An area lifeguard takes to Facebook to strongly warn of dangerous swimming
07/21/2019 – WGN Chicago – Officials remind public about water safety after man drowns in Lake Michigan
07/21/2019 – NBC 5 Chicago – After Recent Tragedies, CFD Officials Offer Water Safety Tips
07/18/2019 – MLIVE – Toddler floats away on inflatable duck on Lake Michigan, bystanders rescue child
07/18/2019 – Detroit Free Press – Bystander saves toddler who floats away on inflatable duck in Lake Michigan
07/18/2019 – Daily Mail UK – Toddler is rescued by a boater on Lake Michigan after strong winds push his yellow inflatable duck away from shore
07/18/2019 – Inside Edition – Toddler Sobs as He Drifts Out on Lake Michigan on Giant Duck Float
07/17/2019 – The Weather Channel – Beachgoers Rescue Kid Who Floated Away – winds blew inflatable duck away from shore toward open water.
07/17/2019 – Holland Sentinel – Red flags: [Not So] Well-known warning system at state park not always heeded
07/17/2019 – Good Morning America – Boater helps rescue toddler stranded on inflatable duck
07/17/2019 – ABC 7 Chicago – Kids learn water safety in junior lifeguard program in Wilmette
07/17/2019 – South Bend Tribune – Toddler saved in Lake Michigan by nearby boater after winds carry inflatable
07/17/2019 – WWMT – PETITION: BRING BACK LIFEGUARDS – SOUTH HAVEN, MI — The drowning of a 13-year-old in South Haven sparks public cry for the return of lifeguards on South Haven beaches. As of late Wednesday, 5,400 [8,500+] people had signed the petition.
One former lifeguard said with so many deaths the lack of a lifeguard on the beach is dangerous. “For someone that’s just like a citizen walking around they don’t really have the skills in that and the strength a lot of times to be in the water and saving lives, so it’s important to have trained lifeguards.” Bridget Reebe said.
Earlier this week Newschannel 3 spoke with South Haven City Manager Brain Dissette. We asked if lifeguards would ever come back to South Haven?
He said it was a question for the City Council. So, we went to city hall to speak with city council. We were told NO MEMBER OF THE CITY COUNCIL WAS AVAILABLE.
07/17/2019 – North Cook News – GLENCOE PARK DISTRICT: Glencoe Park District launched Beach S.A.F.E.
07/17/2019 – WNEM 5 – Boater rescues toddler on giant inflatable duck on Lake Michigan
07/17/2019 – Mirror, UK – Screams and panic after toddler on inflatable duck floats out to sea from beach
07/16/2019 – Herald Argus – Tragedy avoided at MC beach, Boaters rescue child after inflatable toy drifts to open water
07/16/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Toddler Rescued From Lake Michigan After Drifting Away On Inflatable Duck In Michigan City
07/16/2019 – CBS 2 Chicago – Video Captures Dramatic Rescue As Toddler Floated Away From Shore In Inflatable Duck In Michigan City
07/16/2019 – NBC 5 Chicago – Close Call Caught on Cam on Lake Michigan After Toddler on Inflatable Duck Carried Away by Wind – What began as a peaceful day at the lake in Michigan City, Indiana, quickly turned to panic Monday afternoon
07/16/2019 – ABC 7 Chicago – Boater rescues toddler who floated away from shore in inflatable duck in Lake Michigan
07/16/2019 – WNDU NBC 16 – Toddler saved in Lake Michigan after winds carry inflatable
07/16/2019 – WTTV CBS Indy 4 – Indiana toddler saved in Lake Michigan after winds carry inflatable
07/16/2019 – WPVI ABC 6 – Boy rescued from inflatable duck after drifting offshore in Indiana
07/16/2019 – FOX 59 – Boater saves Indiana toddler in Lake Michigan after he drifted away on inflatable duck
07/16/2019 – The News Dispatch – Tragedy avoided at MC beach – Boaters rescue child after inflatable toy drifts to open water
07/16/2019 – New York Daily News – Tot on inflatable duck reportedly carried away into Lake Michigan, saved by boat
07/16/2019 – US News – Toddler Saved in Lake Michigan After Winds Carry Inflatable — Witnesses say a toddler was rescued in Lake Michigan after he drifted away from his family on an inflatable duck in Indiana.
07/16/2019 – Toronto Sun – 773 drownings in Great Lakes since 2010: Safety group
07/16/2019 – Windsor Star – Great Lakes drownings high in number, but often preventable, safety group says
07/16/2019 – Northwest Indiana Times – UPDATE: Toddler saved in Lake Michigan by nearby boater after winds carry inflatable, witness says
07/16/2019 – ABC 57 – Toddler rescued by bystanders in Michigan City
07/15/2019 – ABC 57 – Recent Lake Michigan drownings bring safety into question
07/15/2019 – WZZM 13 – Water safety advocates continue push to bring back lifeguards on Michigan beaches – The drowning of a boy in South Haven has ignited the debate again if Michigan beaches need lifeguards.
07/12/2019 – The News Dispatch – Busy weekend for Beach Rescue Unit – Tragic drowning one of several calls about Lake Michigan
07/10/2019 – WSBT 22 – Crews back on Lake Michigan to find missing teen, what they now call a recovery operation
07/09/2019 – WSBT 22 – Officials give water safety tips after a dangerous weekend on Lake Michigan
07/09/2019 – WSBT 22 Facebook Live – Michigan City, IN – Water Safety tips
07/09/2019 – The Herald Argus – Search continues for missing swimmer – South Bend teen went under Saturday evening off Washington Park
07/07/2019 – Herald Argus – SB teen missing in Lake Michigan
07/07/2019 – ABC 7 Newsviews: Water Safety – The weather has finally warmed up and maybe you’ve spent time at the beach this weekend. WATCH: Newsviews Part 1 & 2.
07/06/2019 – ABC 7 – Swimmer missing near Michigan City as weather service warns of life-threatening waves
07/04/2019 – Cleveland 19 – Lake Erie second deadliest Great Lake for drownings; total deaths down from last year
07/04/2019 – UpNorthLive – GLSRP: 22 drownings in Great Lakes so far in 2019 – GREAT LAKES (WPBN/WGTU) — The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) has released their statistics for the number of drownings in the Great Lakes for 2019. According to the GLSRP, there have been 22 Great Lakes drownings so far for 2019. Since 2010, the GLSRP said there have been 762 drownings in the Great Lakes.
07/03/2019 – WILX – 22 Great Lakes drownings in 2019
06/05/2019– Lakeshore Public Radio – All Things Considered – Regionally Speaking. We bring back our summer 2017 conversation about Lake Michigan drownings with Dave Benjamin with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.” (The Interview begins at 27:38)
06/05/2019– Southbend Tribune – After loss of Lake Michigan kayaker: ‘Look out for our brothers and sisters’
06/04/2019– Southtown Star – Just because you know how to swim, doesn’t mean you know how to survive — As pool and beach season gets underway safety experts remind water lovers not to have a false sense of security because a lifeguard is on duty or because they know how to swim.
The World Congress on Drowning states that an estimated 66% of the more than 360000 people who drown worldwide each year knew how to swim, said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the nonprofit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (www.glsrp.org).
That explains why people take risks, such as swimming alone or beyond their physical capability, and why so often would-be rescuers become drowning victims, he said.
As beaches and pools open for the season, he reminds patrons that in June beach water is cold and visitors likely haven’t been swimming for months.
“Their swimming endurance may be down,” even if their confidence is not, he said.
Know a survival strategy
Being able to swim is not the same as being able to survive a drowning event, he said.
Benjamin has given classroom presentations in Oak Lawn, Palos Heights and Blue Island this past spring. He said he always begins with an informal survey that typically reveals about 90% of the students say they know how to swim. But, he added, less than 5% know a drowning survival strategy such as “Flip, Float and Follow” when caught in a current or floating on your back and breathing deeply for added buoyancy.
“Knowing how to swim reduces your fear of water. But people often overestimate their swimming ability,” Benjamin said. “Males overestimate it by about 50 percent.”
Benjamin said a Red Cross report showed 54 percent of Americans who say they can swim don’t have basic swimming ability to survive a water emergency. The criteria for survival included five points: 1) resurfacing after falling into water over your head, 2) treading water for one minute, 3) spinning 360 degrees to spot an exit, 4) swimming 25 yards or length of the pool to get to that exit, and 5) climbing out of water without assistance.
“We want people to know how to swim but we want them also to understand their true swimming ability and that there’s a distinction between knowing how to swim and knowing how to survive,” he said.Most people can run but that doesn’t mean they have the ability to run a marathon, he added.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death, particularly for children and particularly for males, in the nation and the world, he said. Eighty percent of drowning victims are male, he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five people who die from drowning in the United States are children age 14 and younger. In addition, the CDC states, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
These are things every parent should know and are reasons to “watch your kids like a hawk,” Benjamin said.
There were 117 Great Lakes drownings in 2018, he said, making it the deadliest year since the GLSRP began tracking such deaths in 2010.
Already, 2019 has claimed 16 Great Lakes drowning victims, with the latest victim being pulled out of Lake Michigan at the end of May.
Benjamin said because the physical struggle often takes place under water, as the victim’s legs and arms “climb a ladder” or “paw at the water,” onlookers are often unaware the individual is in trouble.
For the victim, Benjamin said, panic is the first stage of drowning.
“It’s a panic attack in the water. If you don’t understand that you’re likely to exhaust all your energy and submerge,” he said. “That’s why you need a survival strategy.
“If you want to survive a drowning incident, you have to stay at the surface and continue breathing, by treading water and floating or having a flotation device with you,” he said.
06/04/2019 – Interlochen Public Radio – Record number of drowning deaths in Great Lakes last year
06/04/2019– Post-Tribune – Drowning doesn’t look like drowning, says water safety advocatenlike the way it’s portrayed in movies, drowning is often quiet. There’s usually no screaming or thrashing in the water. It’s something that can go unnoticed, unless it’s being watched. Most importantly, it can happen to anyone — more than 50 percent of drowning victims are strong swimmers, according to the United States Coast Guard. Last year, the number of deaths due to drowning in the Great Lakes was 118, making it the deadliest year since the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project began tracking drownings in the Great Lakes in 2010. Since they began, they’ve tracked more than 750 deaths.
06/03/2019– Fox 6 – ‘It’s about time:’ Life rings installed at North, South Pier in Kenosha after 4 drownings in 2018 — KENOSHA — Life rings were installed at Kenosha’s North Pier and South Pier after four drownings in 2018, including a case involving a 17-year-old Indian Trail High School student. It was a simple solution that became very complex.
“It’s about time,” said Maria Rasch of Kenosha. “Ever since I moved here, we had always heard of different drownings, and it wasn’t until this past season somebody decided to actually do something about it.”
Three life rings were installed at the North Pier Monday, joining one life ring on the South Pier and another on the Pike River after a tragic year.
Donovan Anderson’s body was recovered from Lake Michigan near Carthage College on Sept. 12, 2018. He was part of a group of students taking pictures and playing in the water on Sept. 6. Officials said he jumped into the lake off the pier and didn’t resurface. It was one of four drownings in 2018, putting officials under pressure to do something.
06/03/2019– TMJ4 – Life rings finally up on Kenosha’s north pier 6 years after Lake Mills’ mom lost her son
05/31/2019– Northwest Indiana Times – Lake Michigan claims 7 lives already this year; good swimmers not immune, expert says
05/30/2019– WTTW Chicago Chanel 11 – “Beach Season is Here, and Water Safety Advocates Say They’re Worried”
05/30/2019– WKZO – A deadly year so far in the Great Lakes
05/30/2019– WWMT – Data shows deadly year so far on Great Lakes — 751 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010; 11 to date in 2019 — GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics. In 2019, the GLSRP is tracking 11 Great Lakes drownings. Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 751 Great Lakes drownings. Full statistics here. Note: * = (+/-) Awaiting 100% confirmation of drowning.
05/28/2019– Fox News Chicago – ‘Flip, Float and Follow’: What to do if you may be about to drown
05/25/2019– Lake County News Sun – Moran: Beach season opens with a reminder that Lake Michigan is not a kiddie pool
05/24/2019– Fox 17 – Grand Haven launches new beach safety initiatives – GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — In the summer of 2018 more than 100 people drowned in the Great Lakes, three of those individuals in the waters of Lake Michigan by the Grand Haven lakeshore.
Now, community officials are banding together, announcing new safety tools at Friday’s “Beach Safety Initiative” on the Grand Haven Beach.
The first of the Beach Safety Initiatives is 14 red zonal signs meant to help rescue crews find exactly where an emergency is happening.
Also included in the initiatives is a new flag pole to display warning flags, extra rigging rope and life rings to throw to those in distress, water rescue goggles for emergency personnel, and a safety message that will be playing on loop on AM 1700.
05/24/2019– The News Dispatch – Lake safety part of curriculum — Lake Michigan can be dangerous — After the deadliest year on the Great Lakes in 2018, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is reminding swimmers and beach-goers to be safe when in or near the water.
Last year was the deadliest on the Great Lakes since the GLSRP began tracking drownings in 2010. And so far in 2019, the project is tracking seven drownings, and possibly an additional four, which happened in the last week. Overall since 2010, there have been at least 747 Great Lakes drownings. Of the 2018 drownings, 117 were in Lake Michigan, including six in Northwest Indiana and two in Michigan City.
One of the possible drownings being tracked this week is a South Bend man who is still missing after he disappeared off Porter Beach last weekend. A search is underway for Jacob Sandy, 23, last seen heading onto Lake Michigan to kayak. Porter Police found Sandy’s car in the parking lot near the beach, and a search has been underway since Monday.
The GLSRP offers the following reminders for those heading to the water over the holiday weekend:
- Water temperatures are in the 50s at the south end of Lake Michigan, and swimmers are advised not to jump off boats or piers. If you enter the water, ease your way in and wear a lifejacket. Cold water shock can cause an involuntary hyperventilation gasp reflex, so know the rules of hypothermia.
- This summer the beaches may seem more crowded because the water lines are higher and there’s literally less beach space. In addition, check local sandbar formations. There may be sudden drop-offs, inshore holes, or debris/trees submerged along some shorelines.
- Wear a lifejacket – especially while traveling on boats. “You wouldn’t try to put your seatbelt on during a car crash. If an incident happens while boating, you likely won’t be able to put on your lifejacket in a life and death situation,” Bob Pratt, GLSRP executive director, said.
- It’s likely been several months since most people have been to the beach, so swimming endurance may be low and cold water will incapacitate swimming ability.
05/24/2019– Star Beacon – Take care when boating – Many people will be getting their boats out on the water for the first time this weekend. While the water provides plenty of great opportunities for fun, it is important to take precautions and be safe because summer fun can turn to tragedy quickly.
According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, since 2010 there have been more than 750 Great Lakes drownings.
“I cannot stress enough that drowning really is a public health issue that needs to be treated like a public health issue,” Dave Benjamin, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project executive director, said last fall. “A water safety school curriculum needs to be mandated and funded in the Great Lakes region as well as nationwide. Great Lakes drownings are just the tip of the iceberg of the nationwide drowning crisis.”
05/23/2019– Chicago Tribune – Going to the beach can be dangerous. Here are ways to stay safe.
Even when it comes to a fun, enjoyable activity like a day at the beach, beachgoers still should understand the risks before going in the water.
Last year, at least 42 people drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a group that tracks drownings across the Great Lakes. The Chicago area has already had five people drown in Lake Michigan this year.
The Chicago Park District assigns each beach a color-coded flag. A green flag means there are no swim restrictions, and the water quality is good. A yellow flag means be cautious because weather conditions are unpredictable or bacteria levels in the water are above the threshold deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. A red flag means swimming is prohibited due to the weather, water quality or surf conditions of the beach — or that the beach is closed to swimming because there are no lifeguards.
“If there’s a red flag out there don’t go in the water,” said Adam Bueling, assistant manager of beaches and pools for the Chicago Park District. “That means there may be bacterial contamination. It may mean there’s high wind or high waves or there’s no lifeguard on duty.”
Be cautious of waves and currents
Lake Michigan is vulnerable to dangerous waves and currents, Rodriguez said. When winds blow directly onshore, that creates strong waves and increases the possibility of dangerous currents, including currents that flow away from the beach and back out to the lake, Rodriguez said.
“If someone gets caught in that it becomes a very dangerous situation,” he said.
The National Weather Service advises all beachgoers to steer clear of piers and pier-like structures because waves are often more chaotic near them.
“Our beaches get structural currents around jetties and piers, and when you’re close to those structures you can get caught in a current, which can carry you out to deeper water,” Bueling said.
Waves and currents can be unpredictable and that’s why the weather service encourages people to wear a life jacket.
Lifeguards can be a lifesaver
Chicago’s beaches are staffed with lifeguards only between the hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Obey the rules,” Bueling said. “Don’t swim where and when there are no lifeguards.”
The drowning of a 13-year-old girl last summer 30 minutes after lifeguards had ended their shift at Loyola Beach prompted the Park District to plant a red flag at all beach locations when lifeguards were not on duty.
There are roughly 1,050 lifeguards employed by the Park District, which includes 500 spread across the lakefront and 550 at pools throughout the city, a spokeswoman said. However, the Park District is still looking to hire more lifeguards.
Lifeguard hours were cut from 9 a.m to 8:30 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in 2009 in an effort to save about $700,000 a year.
A task force put together after the girl’s drowning recommended this spring that the Park District extend lifeguard hours, but noted that the district and Chicago Public Schools also are working to expand lifeguard training, because not enough lifeguards are available.
05/22/2019– Herald Palladium – Water safety training on North Pier — ST. JOSEPH — The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will host a joint water safety event on the North Pier at Tiscornia Beach at noon Sunday. The presentation will cover water safety, pier safety, rip currents and life rings. Nearly 750 people have drowned in the Great Lakes since tracking began in 2010.
- 05/20/2019– ABC 57- Beaches get smaller as Lake Michigan water levels continue to rise — The high levels are also impacting Lake Michigan beach lines.
The co-founder of Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit that works to cut the number of Great Lakes drownings through training and education, Dave Benjamin is asking beach goers to take certain precautions due to the higher water levels.
Benjamin says that the high water levels are shrinking Lake Michigan beaches. Putting it simply, he says more water means more hazards for people out on the beach.
“Water is one of the leading causes of accidental death. If we’re looking at the beach here in Michigan City, Indiana, there’s a lot less beach here than there was last year. And, we have a lot of people that come to this beach every summer, which means this beach is going to be even more crowded, and in a smaller space,” Benjamin said.
He explains that although the higher water levels don’t change the way lifeguards are trained, crowded beaches due to the changing beach lines make it harder for lifeguards to monitor the open water.
Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is just one example of the devastating impact higher water levels have had on shorelines across the area. Right now, the beach is temporarily closed due to hazardous conditions from erosion.
Benjamin asks that swimmers are careful on the sandbars because the arrangement of their formations can change due to the high water levels.
Plus, if you take the boat out, be on the lookout hazards like vegetation or trees that could’ve been washed off the shore line that are now submerged close to the water due to high water levels and wave activity.
He also says to take water safety into consideration is along the piers of Lake Michigan.
“Because the water level is higher along the piers, a smaller wave, 2 feet 3 feet might be enough to wash someone off the pier. So, we always tell people to steer clear from the pier. It’s one of the mantras across the great lakes. Whenever there’s water washing over the piers you should definitely stay off them, do not swim near them,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin tells ABC57 that last year was the deadliest year on the Great Lakes with 40 drownings in Lake Michigan.
- 05/12/2019– Kenosha News – After a deadly 2018 season, water safety program aims to save lives on the lakefront
A push for safety – Saturday was the culmination of a week of water safety events organized by the Safety Around Water (SAW) coalition in partnership with the city, Kenosha Unified School District and the local police and fire departments.
The week included presentations about water safety by David Benjamin from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project at Unified high schools and middle schools. A water safety video created by Cochran was also shown at all district middle and high schools.
On Saturday, the coalition held a water safety event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kenosha Harbor, including safety demonstrations, a presentation by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project and life jacket giveaways.
The week of education programs was part of a larger series of initiatives to improve safety at the lakefront, including larger warning signs, “throw bags” for police squad cars and the installation of life ring kiosks at areas where there are dangerous currents, including near the mouth of the Pike River and at the North Pier.
Deadly summer – Ironically, as the coalition began meeting [in July of 2018] in the hope of pushing for improved safety, Kenosha entered what became a deadly summer on the water.
Five people died in drownings in the county in 2018, including an 18-year-old high school student who died after jumping from North Pier with friends and a father who drowned trying to save his daughter from a rip current off the beach where the Pike River flows into Lake Michigan.
- 05/02/2019– Kenosha News – Moving past ‘I don’t know’ is key to water safety – I didn’t know that I could drown because I know how to swim.
I didn’t know that panic is the first stage of drowning.
I didn’t know about dangerous currents in the Great Lakes.
I didn’t know that 80 percent of all drowning victims are male.
I didn’t know, yet there I was … I was male. I was in a structural current. I was panicking. I could no longer swim. I was drowning.
Luckily I survived. I survived by floating. When I had given up my exhausted struggle to stay at the surface in the pounding waves, I luckily had enough float in my surfing wetsuit to stay at the surface and breathe — I could float, breathe, overcome the panic and eventually float back to shore.
After that nonfatal drowning event I co-founded the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
And I didn’t know that “I didn’t know …” would become the number one thing that we would hear from family and friends of drowning victims after a tragic event.
And when we listened to these “I didn’t know …” factors from these families and friends of drowning victims, we realized that these factors were not complex ideas. These factors were actually quite simple.
Many people may think that these factors are common sense, but there is currently no common sense when it comes to water safety.
Our society is so far behind the eight ball when it comes to water safety when compared to other public safety programs.
Answer these questions:
What do you do if your clothes catch on fire?
Yes. That’s right… Stop, Drop, and Roll.
What do you do if you are drowning?
Less than 5 percent of people we surveyed know a drowning survival strategy like “Float” or “Flip, Float, and Follow”.
Consider how often do you play in fire? Never.
And now consider how often you play in water. All the time.
So you never play in fire, but you know a fire survival strategy. Yet you always play in water, but you don’t know a water survival strategy.
Let that sink in and now truly understand that water safety is not common sense. We need a water safety school curriculum to save future generations from drowning.
Dave Benjamin is executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
- 04/29/2019– Sheboygan Press – Scientists: 15-minute storm caused Lake Michigan rip currents that killed 7 hours later — The research team looked at eyewitness incident reports that show rip currents have led to 94 fatalities at Lake Michigan beaches over the last 15 years, and compared them with meteotsunami events in Lake Michigan.
The comparison showed “16% of fatal current incidents and 12% of reported rescues occurred on the same day that meteotsunamis were observed in the lake,” according to the paper the team published.
This could suggest meteotsunami-induced rips may be frequently related to water safety incidents, the paper said.
According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, 117 drownings occurred on the Great Lakes in 2018.
- 04/25/2019– Chicago Tribune – Lake Michigan’s deadly ‘freak wave’ of 1954 is Chicago folklore. Turns out it was a meteotsunami. [Since 1929 there have been 24 deaths attributed to meteotsunamis, yet since 2010 there have been over 745 drownings in the Great Lakes.]
The Great Lakes saw 118 drownings in 2018, by far the most since the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project began keeping track in 2010. Director Dave Benjamin acknowledges the threat posed by meteotsunamis, but he said only one-third of the drownings in the region are caused by dangerous waves or currents. To him, it speaks to a larger need for overall water safety education.
Meteotsunamis are “sort of the sharks of the Great Lakes,” Benjamin said. “It gets national news, but there are only a small percentage of people affected.” “States spend millions on top of millions of dollars in tourism campaigns to bring people to Great Lakes states — for revenue and taxes — but almost nothing is spent on water safety.”
04/24/2019– 9 & 10 News – Spring Kayak Safety: Over 100 Drowning Related Deaths in 2018
04/23/2019– TMJ4 – Leaders with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project report there were 42 drownings in Lake Michigan last year alone. Leaders are trying to teach people water safety. During the entire week of spring break, Kenosha’s YMCA is offering free swim safety lessons.
The message is to Flip, Float and Follow in a water emergency.
If you’re stuck in a rip current, first flip on your back. Float to conserve your energy. Then, follow a safe path out of the water.
04/04/2019– Kenosha News – Safety Around Water coalition plans May event
02/02/2019– WSBT 22 – SPECIAL REPORT: WSBT meteorologist discusses what to do if you find yourself on thin ice – “If you are to fall in the water, you have one minute to control your breathing, ten minutes of meaningful movement, and less than one hour until hypothermia sets in,” said Dave Benjamin, Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
01/07/2019– WLUC TV 6 – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. is reporting 2018 as the deadliest year for drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010 and they say almost all drownings are preventable.
The project reports 117 lives were lost on the Great Lakes because of drowning and they say, that number should be zero.
“We believe that every drowning is preventable and we’ve got to start asking ourselves as a society, ‘Why are we not preventing them?’” prompted Dave Benjamin, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Great Lakes Surf Project.
The organization says it may not be as easy to identify a drowning victim as you may think.
“Drowning is swift, it doesn’t look the way Hollywood portrays it,” said Benjamin. “When you’re panicking, it’s an emotional and an irrational response to the situation. We start making a lot of mistakes and that’s why we start to hyperventilate.”
A person who is drowning will usually be facing shore, their mouth will be at water level and may have their head tipped back. They’ll be vertical, so it may almost look like they’re treading water.
“You have to, instead of fight to survive, you have to roll over and get your breathing under control,” said Benjamin.
If you find yourself in a panicked drowning situation, flip yourself on to your back, float to get yourself and your breathing under control, and then follow a safe path out of the water.
As the drowning deaths increased on the Great Lakes, the city of Marquette reports zero drowning deaths in 2018.
“We’ve worked very closely with Northern Michigan University in order to make sure the information gets out to people, especially those new to the area, about the dangers of the lake, the dangers of certain areas within the city limits where people swim,” said Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli.
The city employs 30 lifeguards in the summertime, and the Police Department has a designated park patrol to help keep an eye on the water.
“We’ve made a pretty good effort to try and deal with it,” Angeli added.
There’s more information on Great Lakes drowning statistics and how to keep yourself on the water, www.glsrp.org.
12/05/2018 – Sun Prairie Star – “Before I researched drowning, diving and spinal cord injuries for the book, I was very naïve about potential dangers relating to these water sports,” she said. This year, more than 100 people have drowned in the Great Lakes making it the deadliest year in a decade. That’s according to a tally by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit water safety group that keeps a comprehensive database of Great Lakes drownings.
11/18/2018 – Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning – Sunday Survival Story: Swim Near a Lifeguard!
11/09/2018 – US News & World Report – Safety Group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – Great Lakes Commission – Daily News – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/08/2018 – Wood TV 8 – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – Holland Sentinel, Holland, MI – 2018 deadliest year for Great Lakes drownings
11/09/2018 – Fox 17, Holland, MI – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – Herald Courier, Holland, MI – 2018 deadliest year for Great Lakes drownings
11/09/2018 – Herald Palladium, St. Joseph, MI – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – Detroit Free Press – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – 9 & 10 News, Cadillac, MI– Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – WKAR, Michigan State University – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – WXYZ TV Detroit – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/11/2018 – Grand Haven Tribune – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – Northwest Indiana Times – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/10/2018 – South Bend Tribune, IN – 2018 is the deadliest year for Great Lakes drownings
11/09/2018 – Chicago Tribune – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – The Pantagraph, Bloomington, IL – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2008 – The News-Herald, OH – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/13/2018 – The Crescent-News, Defiance, OH – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – KSTP ABC 5, Minneapolis, MN – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – CBS 4, MN – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – Lancaster Online, Lancaster, PA – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – Mankato Free Press, South-Central Minnesota – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – TribLive, Pittsburg, PA – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – SF Gate, San Francisco, CA – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/09/2018 – New Jersey Herald – Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes
11/02/2018 – Bridge Michigan – Bob Pratt, executive director of education for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project and a retired East Lansing fire marshal, offers tips for staying safe while you’re enjoying the vast bodies of water.
11/02/2018 – Bridge Michigan – Great Lakes drownings peaked in 2018. And the year’s not over. More than 100 people have drowned in the Great Lakes so far this year, making it the deadliest year this decade already.
That’s according to a tally by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit water safety group that keeps a comprehensive database of Great Lakes drownings.
The group has tracked 728 such drownings since it started gathering the data in 2010. That includes 105 drownings in the first 10 months of 2018, at least six more than any other year.
Lake Michigan, with its vast shoreline and beaches near large populations, has claimed the most lives thus far, 37, followed by Lake Erie, 33, Lake Ontario, 21, Lake Huron, 8, and Lake Superior, 6.
At least 13 of this year’s drownings were in Michigan waters, the data show. Another drowning — in September off of Lake Erie’s Turtle Island — happened along the Michigan-Ohio border.
11/02/2018 – WWMT – Greats Lakes rescue group said 2018 is seeing record number of drownings – A new report released Friday says 2018 is already the deadliest this decade for drownings in the Great Lakes.
The report, from a nonprofit called the “Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project” attributes the increase to warmer weather. Drownings typically spike in periods with what the project calls the three Ws — waves, winds and weekends. The report states that so far in 2018 there have been 105 drownings. That’s almost twice as many as I 2015. Also, the report states, most people who drown aren’t wearing life jackets.
10/31/2018 – UP Matters – Stay off piers, breakwaters during high winds, storms, wave action – Water Dangers. While many victims who have fallen or jumped off these structures were said to have been very good swimmers, the reality of past statistics paint a sad picture. In 2018 so far, there have been 102 drownings in the Great Lakes. Though not all of these drownings occurred at harbor structures, it is a grim reminder of the risks and dangers that are present when in and around water.
10/18/2018 – Detroit News – Tourists, residents alike hit by Mich. water deaths
10/14/2018 – The Record Eagle – DANGEROUS WATERS – Families, advocates deal with aftermath of death in or near water
10/10/2018 – CBC – Why are so many more people drowning in the Great Lakes? It’s been a deadly year in the Great Lakes with a record number of people killed by drowning. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project one hundred and two people have died so far in 2018. Their executive director of education, Bob Pratt, spoke with us about the spike in drowning deaths this year.
10/05/2018 – Kenosha News – Readers discuss installation of first life ring kiosk — Life rings are credited with saving lives in Grand Haven, Holland and St. Joseph in Michigan, and Gary and Michigan City in Indiana
10/03/2018 – Kenosha News – City installs first life ring flotation equipment at Kenosha Harbor — “All I can say is, it is amazing, an historic moment for the city of Kenosha, the city government and the people of Kenosha. (We) came together and now we will have lifesaving devices (going up) on the north and the south piers,” Jim Zondlak, a KSFCA board member and former president, said Wednesday.
At the Common Council meeting earlier this week, Zondlak thanked aldermen for approving Mayor John Antaramian’s amended proposal authorizing four of six planned kiosk installations. In addition, the council approved a resolution by Ald. Dan Prozanski Jr., stepping up water safety education annually in middle and high schools, guided by the U.S. Coast Guard in cooperation with the Kenosha police and fire departments, the Kenosha YMCA and the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. “I’m overwhelmed with pride in everyone coming together. I could feel the vibe in the Common Council,” Zondlak said.
10/01/2018 – Kenosha News – Council to consider authorizing installation of life saving devices at Pike River, pier – Initiatives intended to bring life-saving devices and public awareness to the dangers of drowning in Lake Michigan will come before the City Council tonight.
Among them will be a resolution authorizing the city to install three life ring buoys on Kenosha Harbor’s north pier, a life ring set on the south wall of the harbor and another near the mouth of the Pike River which feeds into the lake near the band shell at Pennoyer Park.
The devices are expected to be stored in a cabinet, or kiosk, and will include attached ropes. The devices will be accessible to the the public in the event of an emergency.
Another resolution aims to educate middle and high school students about water safety. It calls for presentations led by the U.S. Coast Guard in partnership with Kenosha police and fire departments, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project and the Kenosha Unified School District. The month of May would also be declared as “Lake Michigan Safety Awareness Month.”
Both are coming before the council tonight after at least three drownings over the last four months, including Donovan Anderson, 17, of Kenosha, who died after jumping into the lake at the pier with friends on Sept. 6. His body was recovered less than two weeks later.
10/01/2018 – Buffalo News – For Erie and the Great Lakes as a whole, 2018 ties a deadly record — This year has been Western New York’s deadliest for drownings in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The seven local drownings in 2018 – and two others with local connections – make up what’s also been among the deadliest years throughout the Great Lakes.
In all, 99 people have died so far in 2018 on the Great Lakes, tying 2012 and 2016 for the highest number of deaths on record, data from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project shows.
Those lost include a beloved Lancaster school teacher, a Southtowns fisherman and Hamburg liquor store owner who was kite-surfing.
Two other deaths on Lake Erie occurred just outside of New York waters, including the July drowning of a 12-year-old Elmwood Franklin School girl in Fort Erie, Ont.
Great Lakes drownings in WNY – The seven drownings on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario combined is more than double the number of fatalities this decade.
The Buffalo sector of the U.S. Coast Guard reported, anecdotally, that it has seen more and more distress calls in the water in recent years. This year has been no exception.
“It’s been a busy season – a lot of responses,” said U.S. Coast Guard junior grade Lt. Kyle Maxey. “I think that’s had a lot to do with paddle-boarding and an increase in the amount of watercraft on the Great Lakes.”
You could also blame the heat. The summer of 2018 was the region’s seventh warmest on record, which would tend to draw more activity to the shorelines by boaters, swimmers, paddlers and jet-skiers.
The two summers this decade warmer than this past one – 2012 and 2016 – were the equally deadly years on the Great Lakes.
The first two drownings of the season occurred on Lake Erie five days – and about 5 miles – apart in May.
Eric Przykuta, a 43-year-old seventh-grade science teacher at Lancaster Middle School, died in an evening accident when the fishing boat he was riding in with two other men struck the breakwall near the Small Boat Harbor. Przykuta’s body was recovered the next morning by the U.S. Coast Guard. An avid boater and outdoors enthusiast, Przykuta was not wearing a life vest.
A few days later, Hamburg fisherman Robert Maccubbin, 50, died after apparently going overboard from a raft into the 46-degree lake off of Athol Springs.
On June 21, the Surf Rescue Project cites another suspected drowning that occurred when the body of a man was recovered from Lake Erie off of Woodlawn Beach. Accomplished kite-surfer Jeff Biehler, who owned Biehler’s Village Square Liquors in Hamburg, died after taking to Lake Erie on a warm and gusty afternoon on Aug. 15 and running into trouble in choppy waters. Lifeguards at nearby Hamburg Town Beach tried reaching Biehler, but they were unable to.
Weeks earlier, Catherine Winfield Butsch, a 12-year-old girl known as “Caty,” died after apparently suffering a medical event while swimming near Fort Erie, Ont. Caty was found unresponsive near Crescent Beach in the late afternoon of July 21. Bystanders and medical personnel tried to resuscitate the girl, but she later died in a Buffalo hospital.
Lake Ontario saw its own share of water-related tragedies this summer with at least three drownings in five weeks, including:
- Stacy Fishbein, 21, of Vaughan, Ont., whose body was recovered July 28 near Olcott.
- Carl F. Hazel, 66, of Albion, who was on a fishing boat that sank Aug. 25 about 9 miles off of the Orleans County shore.
- Daniel Saik, 66, of Niagara Falls, Ont., whose body was recovered Aug. 31 along the lake shoreline in Burt.
In Hazel’s case, authorities said he was wearing a life jacket when his boat sank. Hazel and a companion were rescued by another fishing boat, but they’d been in the cold water for about two hours. His companion survived.
Other drownings across the Great Lakes drew international attention.
Former NHL goaltender and Stanley Cup champion Ray Emery died July 15 after he jumped off a boat to go swimming in Lake Ontario’s Hamilton Harbor and never resurfaced. The body of Emery, who was a native of Hamilton, was recovered later that afternoon about 60 feet from where he jumped in, according to a CTV News report.
On Aug. 30, a father and his three children drowned in a kayaking accident off a northern Wisconsin shoreline in Lake Superior. The Wisconsin family of five had launched a tandem kayak that afternoon to paddle to an island about 4 miles away, but the kayak capsized. Eric Fryman, 39, his two daughters, Kyra, 9, and Annaliese, 5, as well as his 3-year-old son, Jansen, drowned. The children’s mother, Cari Mews-Fryman, 29, was later rescued by a passing ship captain, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Great Lakes drownings – Three of the warmest summers this decade have also brought the three highest numbers of annual drownings.
Think safety, be safe – Each drowning occurs because of its own set of circumstances, but experts say many of the tragedies are preventable.
The Coast Guard encourages anyone who plans to use a watercraft – whether a boat, Jet Ski, kayak or canoe – to seek the appropriate training first.
“Boater safety courses are one of the most important things you should do before heading out on a boat,” Maxey said.
Two other important tips from the Coast Guard: avoid alcohol and wear a life jacket.
“Wearing a life jacket is really important,” said Marty Denecke, the town of Hamburg’s director of youth, recreation and senior services.
Because of the number of boats, kayaks, Jet Skis and paddle-boats in the lake off of Hamburg’s shoreline, Denecke said the town takes extra precautions and stations some crew along the shoreline even when swimming at the town’s beach is closed.
“Surveying of the water, whether we are open or closed for swimming, is standard operating procedure,” Denecke said. “We don’t want it to happen on our watch. We take it very seriously.”
And even with that vigilance, tragedy struck twice this summer off of Hamburg’s shore.
Dave Benjamin, executive director of public relations and project management for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, said family members who have lost a loved one often talk about how the drowning victim was physically fit and a good swimmer. Such was the case with Biehler, the Hamburg kite-surfer.
“Good swimmers drown,” Benjamin said. “Knowing how to swim is not enough; you need to know how to survive.”
Did you know? Benjamin’s regional nonprofit organization tries to prevent drownings through education and has tracked fatalities on all five lakes dating back to 2010. It’s the only organization collecting data for all drownings across all of the Great Lakes.
Benjamin gets people to think about water safety with a simple question: “Can you swim?”
Then he takes them through a series of common sense questions, including “What do you do if your clothes catch fire?” and “What number do you call in an emergency?”
Nearly all of the 30,000 people the organization surveyed knew the answers to those simple questions, and 90 percent of them knew how to swim.
The third question Benjamin asks stumps almost everyone: “What do you do if you’re drowning?”
“We’re not often playing with fire, but we are often playing in water,” Benjamin said.
That’s where the need for education comes in.
“Water safety is not common sense, but people assume it’s common sense,” Benjamin said. “There’s a stigma of drowning. People blame the victim.”
Benjamin added: “That’s getting in the way of getting funding for public education. Drowning is a public health issue, and it’s not treated like a public health issue.”
So, what do you do if you’re drowning?
“We call it the ‘flip, float and follow,’” Benjamin said, comparing it to the advice for if clothes catch fire. “It’s like the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of water safety.”
If you find yourself in deep water, the Surf Rescue Project recommends flipping over onto your back, floating or treading water with your head above the water and following a safe path out of the water.
The key is not panicking. Panic can trigger a set of physical symptoms – like shortness of breath and tightness in the chest – that can actually work against survival.
“When someone gets in trouble in the water, they have a panic attack.
“Do the opposite of your instincts. If you don’t get your breathing under control, you’re not going to survive.”
09/24/2018 – Kenosha News – Committees approve installing life rings, education resolution, violation penalties — In the wake of four lakefront drownings here the past two years, including most recently high school student Donovan Anderson, the city of Kenosha is moving toward a comprehensive approach to upgrade water safety.
It calls for the U.S. Coast Guard to make safety presentations to students in middle and high schools, in cooperation with the KPD, Kenosha Fire Department, Kenosha YMCA and the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
09/16/2018 – Northwest Indiana Times – Water safety presentation tonight in Chesterton open to all – CHESTERTON — Learn how to stay safe while swimming in the Great Lakes during a presentation tonight at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. One hundred people have drowned in the Great Lakes this year, more than any other year since the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project began tracking drownings in 2010. In all, 723 people have died in all five Great Lakes since 2010, the project’s data show. In Lake Michigan so far this year, 33 people have drowned.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project will talk about water safety during a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 2050 W. 1100 North in Chesterton. The presentation is hosted by Chesterton Girl Scouts Troop 30373. The presentation is for everyone, including beachgoers, surfers, lifeguards, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, water rescue team members, dive team members and the U.S. Coast Guard, said Dave Benjamin, co-founder and executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. The presentation will include information about drowning statistics; the signs of drowning; survival strategies, including “flip, float, follow;” how, why and where dangerous currents occur; basic water rescue; and basic water resuscitation.
09/13/2018 – Kenosha News – Mayor: Safest option is to fence off the north pier – Dave Benjamin, of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, put it similarly. “The indications are these incidents happen because the public isn’t educated and neither are the politicians. A throw ring, a rope and a hook, I would think, is about $50,” said Benjamin, who has been involved in the Kenosha YMCA’s project to promote water safety in the schools. “It’s time to stop talking about it and just do it,” Benjamin added. “Unfortunately, this boy probably would have survived if there was a throw ring there within 50 feet. If you smelled smoke right now, you would look for a fire alarm. If you saw someone drowning, you would look for a throw ring.”
“A life ring gives the opportunity to save a life or rescue a person, where a sign just won’t do that,” Costabile said. ”You know, we’ve all been guilty of being a pier jumper. I asked my dad, and he did it, too. As long as that pier and water are together we have to have a life-saving device available so we can help in a situation like we had last week.”
Robert Stanick, the Army Corps of Engineers area engineer for the Lake Michigan office, said the required lease is “a simple real estate agreement.” “These are done relatively quickly. It could be a matter of a few weeks depending on the complexity of the situation. We did one in Port Washington that was completed in four weeks. It was mounting multiple life rings on a pier,” Stanick said. He noted the city and the Corps already have a real estate agreement for the south pier of the harbor and might not need to do a new and separate one for the north pier. He said the city could ask to expand the existing lease to the north pier across the channel.
09/13/2018 – Kenosha News – Life rings helping save lives in beach locations – There should be no question that life rings are an important step toward public safety. Looking at other beach locations: life rings are credited with saving lives in Grand Haven, Holland and St. Joseph in Michigan, and Gary and Michigan City in Indiana, according to the non-profit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. “If someone is drowning, they can find the life ring on the pier.” said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the organization.
The experience of Michigan City is worth sharing today and could offer insight and a road map for Kenosha officials. “Just call them the ‘rings of life,” read the headline of a July 30 story in the News Dispatch in Michigan City. “Mayor: Life rings along pier proving to be great investment.” Life rings were installed in Michigan City’s Washington Park in late 2016, and for at least the second time in July they were instrumental in saving a life.
Indiana conservation officials credited Myles Wright and Devin Newton with saving two young girls from drowning, the News Dispatch reported. “They absolutely came in handy,” Wright told the paper of the rescue in high winds and choppy water. “Without those rings, I’m not sure we could’ve gotten them out. The first girl might have been OK, but the second girl definitely would not. Without that ring, she would’ve gone under and been unconscious.”
Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer issued this statement: “It humbles me to know that the equipment we installed was utilized by two Michigan City residents to prevent drownings from occurring. I am so glad this had a good ending.”The city’s Fire Department, with the help of donations, raised money to buy the rings, ropes and cabinets; a $13,000 grant from ArcelorMittal to the city’s Lakefront Safety Committee allowed them to proceed with the purchase, the News Dispatch reported. “Through the efforts of the city and ArcelorMittal, two girls were rescued in rough waters on Tuesday,” the mayor said in late July.
Kenosha officials should act quickly when given approval to install the life rings and equipment and work toward permanent funding. Examples like this are out there.
09/10/2018 – WILX – Beach hazard issued with high waves, rip currents expected – “I hoped the Great Lakes drownings would subside after the 13 Labor Day weekend fatalities, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon,” said Dave Benjamin, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. “This year is on track to be the worst year on record for the Great Lakes.”
A total of  drownings have been reported on the Great Lakes this year, 33 in Lake Michigan. Benjamin calls drownings a public health crisis.
“I cannot stress enough that drowning really is a public health issue that needs to be treated like a public health issue. A water safety school curriculum needs to be mandated and funded in the Great Lakes region as well as nationwide. Great Lakes drownings are just the tip of the iceberg of the nationwide drowning crisis.”
09/10/2018 – WTMJ – Non-profit hopes to teach “Flip, Float & Follow” water safety
09/10/2018 – FB Promo Today’s TMJ4 – LAKE MICHIGAN DROWNINGS: 33 people who have drowned in Lake Michigan this year. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is working to spread the word about what to do if you’re struggling in the water: flip, float, follow. Julia Fello has the story
09/09/2018 – The Herald Argus – Stay out of the water — Beach hazard issued with high waves, rip currents expected
09/08/2018 – The News Dispatch – Stay out of the water – Beach hazard issued with high waves, rip currents expected – “I hoped the Great Lakes drownings would subside after the 13 Labor Day weekend fatalities, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon,” said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. “This year is on track to be the worst year on record for the Great Lakes.” A total of 96 drownings have been reported on the Great Lakes this year, 33 in Lake Michigan. Benjamin calls drownings a public health crisis. “I cannot stress enough that drowning really is a public health issue that needs to be treated like a public health issue. A water safety school curriculum needs to be mandated and funded in the Great Lakes region as well as nationwide. Great Lakes drownings are just the tip of the iceberg of the nationwide drowning crisis.”
09/08/2018 – Fox 6 News – ‘On track to be the worst year on record:’ Almost 100 people have drowned in the Great Lakes in 2018
09/07/2018 – CBS 58 – “Beyond a nightmare:” Mother whose son drowned in 2013 calling for change after Kenosha teen drowns. Susan Foster lost her son five years ago on the same pier. She was watching the rescue efforts on Friday. “Really rough to see these boats out here and relive what we did five years ago,” Foster said. Her son, Ben drowned and it took 12 days for crews to find his body. “Broke my heart that this family is going to have to go through this… just like we did,” Susan Foster said.” To think that your child is in that water is beyond a nightmare.” Foster said her son was a pilot, athletic and a good swimmer, but Lake Michigan is just too dangerous.
09/07/2018 – Kenosha News – Search called off for teen presumed drowned in harbor – With conditions worsening on Lake Michigan, the Kenosha Fire Department ended the search for a teen presumed drowned in Kenosha Harbor. The Kenosha Fire Department, which is leading the search efforts, said it had searched the harbor channel and areas near the pier multiple times without success, and said conditions, including strong currents and 6-foot waves, were putting search crews at risk. The search was called off at about 4 p.m. “We’ve used literally everything at our disposal today — firefighters, drones, a helicopter, sonar — and have been unable to locate the victim at this point,” said Battalion Chief Matthew Haerter.
The 17-year-old boy was with friends when he jumped off the north pier at the harbor and was overcome by strong currents Thursday. Witnesses said the boy, a student at Indian Trail High School and Academy, was pulled under the water and surfaced twice, each time about 20 yards further away, before disappearing. The teen’s name has not yet been released.
09/06/2018 – WGN 720 AM – Water Safety with Dave Benjamin – Tonight on The Patti Vasquez Show with Andrea Darlas: To discuss water safety and to share some tips to stay safe we welcome Dave Benjamin (Director of Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Halle Quezada, creator of the Chicago Alliance for Waterfront Safety, and John Kocher, co-founder of the Matthew Kocher Foundation).
09/06/2018 – Herald Argus – Man rescued after falling off pier – Lifeguards keep him from being ‘deadly weekend’ statistic – MICHIGAN CITY — A man who fell off the pier in Washington Park onto the rocks on Sunday was pulled from the water by lifeguards and taken to a hospital in stable condition. The Michigan City Fire Department and La Porte County EMS were called to the park just after 4 p.m. on Sunday.
09/06/2018 – WNDU – ST. JOSEPH, MI– Even though Labor Day is over and lifeguards are no longer on duty at beaches, many beach-goers are taking a final advantage of the warm weather. But according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Lake Michigan has taken 31 lives this year alone, marking it one of the deadliest summers since 2010. That’s why the U.S. Coast Guard in St. Joseph, Michigan is stressing water safety as the seasons begin to change.
09/06/2018 – The News Dispatch – MICHIGAN CITY – A man who fell off the pier in Washington Park onto the rocks on Sunday was pulled from the water by lifeguards and taken to a hospital in stable condition.
“An elderly man fell off the wall onto the rocks near the lighthouse,” a Fire Department report said. When firefighters arrived, lifeguards had the man out of the water on a board, and firefighters assisted in carrying him over the wall and back to the beach, the report said.
“We heard a call come over the scanner that a man had fallen off the pier and hit his head,” Michigan City Parks Superintendent Jeremy Kienitz said. “Three of our lifeguards responded and were able to get to him and put him on a backboard to safely transport him to EMS once they arrived.”
The man was fortunate because Sunday was one of the last days lifeguards were on duty this season. Overall it was a deadly weekend on the Great Lakes, with at least a dozen drownings reported, three in Lake Michigan.
“This was the deadliest Labor Day Weekend since we started tracking statistics in 2010,” said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
“And the worst part of this weekend are the people on social media abusing the stigma of drowning and attacking the victims and their family members.”
The Lake Michigan victims, all of whom drowned on Friday, were a 25-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man in Chicago; and a woman in her 60s in Kenosha, Wisconsin. There were four drownings in Lake Erie and four more in Lake Superior, where a father and three children – ages 3, 5 and 9 – drowned when their kayak overturned near Madeline Island off Bayfield, Wisconsin. A 12th drowning was reported on Lake Ontario.
“Unfortunately this societal point of view gives the public the false sense of security that ‘It can’t happen to me,’ and ‘It can’t happen to me because I wouldn’t be that stupid,’ and ‘You can’t fix stupid,’ Benjamin said.
“‘I didn’t know…’ is the number one thing that we hear from family and friends of victims after a tragic event. Water safety is not common sense, yet most people assume it is common sense and that is one of the reasons why drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue.”
As of Tuesday, the GLSRP had confirmed 91 drownings in the Great Lakes this year, including 31 on Lake Michigan. That is the highest number for any year since 2010, except 2012 and 2016, when there were 99 for the entire year. Since 2010, the project has reported 710 drownings on the five lakes, 291 in Lake Michigan.
09/04/2018 – Northwest Indiana Times – Organization says recent Labor Day weekend deadliest for drownings since 2010 – This was the deadliest Labor Day weekend since the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project began tracking drowning statistics in 2010, the organization’s director said. There were 12 drownings in the Great Lakes over the holiday weekend, adding to the 91 total drownings that were recorded so far this year, according to a Tuesday news release from the organization. Since 2010, there have been 714 Great Lakes drownings.
09/04/2018 – Journal Sentinel – The body of a swimmer from Franklin who disappeared in Lake Michigan two weeks ago has been found, authorities reported Tuesday. Ahmad Z. Adl, 34, was part of a group of five people who were camping at Harrington Beach State Park in Ozaukee County on Aug. 20 when they decided to go swimming about 1 p.m. A search was launched for Adl when he didn’t return to shore. Adl’s body was found floating at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County at 7:54 a.m. Sunday
09/04/2018 – Fox 6 News – ‘The deadliest since we started tracking in 2010:’ 12 drownings in Great Lakes over Labor Day weekend
09/01/2018 – The News Dispatch – Caution urged when swimming in big lake — Two Lake Michigan drownings make for deadly start to long weekend
08/31/2018 – WZZM – Father and three children die after kayak capsizes in Lake Superior – Going into Labor Day weekend, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is warning people to be careful around the water.
08/28/2018 – NPR: Ideas Stream – It has been a deadly year on Lake Erie. We’ll talk with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project about the dangers the lake still poses on these hot, final days of summer into fall. And if you’re drowning education comes from what you’ve seen on movies and television, you may miss the moment when your help is needed most. They’ll explain. Guests: Dave Benjamin, Executive Director, The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project and Melissa Zirkle, Great Lakes Safety Advocate
08/28/2018 – CBC News – Great Lakes swimmers ignoring warnings to stay out of the water, report says — 73 people have drowned in the Great Lakes this year
08/27/2018 – The Star Beacon – ASHTABULA — A memorial fundraising dinner has been scheduled to help the family of 16-year-old drowning victim Micah Nugent with funeral expenses. Nugent died Aug. 22 at MetroHealth Medical Center after getting caught in dangerous waves the day before at Walnut Beach.
Melissa Zirkle, of Madison, who is organizing the fundraising dinner, said she reached out to the Nugent family because she knew from experience their biggest need, aside from prayers, was help with funeral expenses. Zirkle, whose own 13-year-old son, Jermaine, drowned five years ago in Lake Erie, hopes to draw 200 people to the dinner. “I’ve hosted benefits and fundraisers many times before so I offered to host a benefit,” she said. “I want to get the word out and make this a wonderful turnout for this incredible deserving family.”
Zirkle has made it her mission to honor her son’s memory and save people from the same tragedy through water safety education. Her efforts, which include water safety classes for Madison and Ashtabula students in partnership with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, earned her the honor as the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium 2016 Water Safety Superhero of the Year.
Eighty-eight people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, and 73 to date in 2018, with 26 of the 73 in Lake Erie, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
08/27/2018 – 9 and 10 News – Ohio Man Dies After Falling Off Frankfort Pier into Lake Michigan
08/26/2018 – MLIVE – Michigan surfer tells of attempts to save drowned man who was washed off pier — One of those attempted rescuers was surfer Ryan Gerard, 40, of St. Joseph. Gerard was at the Frankfort beach enjoying the day with his family, riding the cascading waves and stopping for breaks between sets. It was during one of those breaks that Gerard, owner of the Third Coast Surf Shop, noticed commotion near the pier. A few second later, Gerard realized someone was in trouble and sprang into action. The surfer recalled the accident and its heartbreaking aftermath in a long post published on his company’s Facebook page.
08/24/2018 – Cleveland 19 News – Ashtabula teen becomes latest Lake Erie drowning death in 2018 – Safety experts and government officials are expected to meet in Cleveland this fall to discuss water and swim safety in Lake Erie. A GoFundMe page has been setup to help Nugent’s family with funeral costs. Link in story.
08/24/1018 – Cleveland.com – Ashtabula teen dies after being caught in Lake Erie waves – Nugent was not swimming alone on Tuesday, according to a GoFundMe to support his family.
08/24/2018 – WKYC – 16-year-old swimmer drowns at Ashtabula’s Walnut Beach; 26 Lake Erie fatalities this year. 7 drownings have taken place on Lake Erie this month, including 5 in Northern Ohio. A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the Nugent family with funeral arrangements. (Link in article.)
08/22/2018 – WGN 720 AM – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project and great water safety tips – WGN Radio’s Patti Vasquez is joined by Dave Benjamin, Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project to discuss water safety and how you can stay safe while swimming during your aquatic fun.
08/22/2018 – WLS 890 AM the John Howell and Ray Stevens show – Live Water Safety Segment, Online here: http://player.listenlive.co/22231/ Call in with your questions, comments, and concerns too!!! Call or text during the show to 312-591-8900.
08/22/2018 – ABC 5 News Cleveland – A 16-year-old in critical condition after nearly drowning in Lake Erie; Lake Erie leads the Great Lakes in 2018 drownings with 25.
08/21/2018 – ABC 7 – Beach Hazard in effect for Lake Michigan Tuesday after 3 boys drown over weekend – As if on cue, surfers like Jim Hoop began showing up at Indiana’s Whiting Beach. “If you don’t know how to swim or do this, it’s absolutely not the time. Especially the lake,” Hoop said. “It’s nonstop. It’s not like the ocean where there is a lull in the wave. Here the wave is breaking every moment so it will suck you right out and down faster than you can expect.” The warnings come after three boys died this weekend after they were pulled from Lake Michigan in separate incidents. Two of the boys were Joshua Torres, 10, of Chicago, and Malik Freeman, 14, of Aurora, who were swimming in restricted areas at the same Indiana Dunes State Park beach.
08/20/2018 – WLS – ‘THEY SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING’ – Malik’s mother, Micah Freeman, said she did not know that a 10-year-old boy had been pulled from the water just an hour before her son went under. “They should have said something, a 10 year old was just pulled out of the water lifeless. They should have said this, I would have taken my kids and went home,” Freeman said. From shore, Freeman had been keeping a close eye on her kids in the water when she noticed they drifted down a bit. “I started jogging a little bit to tell Malik to come closer, then I noticed his hand go up, then I started screaming ’cause I could tell he was in trouble at the time,” she said. Her husband, other beachgoers and just two lifeguards went into the water to help, Freeman said. “There were two other lifeguards with their hands on their hips just watching, I said, ‘I need you to help.’ He said, ‘We don’t have our gear,” she said. Malik, who his mother said was a good swimmer and knew the dangers of rip tides, was pulled out of the water a short time later. Life-saving measures were not enough. He was taken to a local hospital and then airlifted to a Chicago hospital where he was pronounced dead. Malik was to turn 15 next week. He was to be a sophomore at Waubonsie Valley High School in High School in Aurora.”He was so much fun and he was so protective of me, you couldn’t ask for a better kid, his heart was so pure,” Freeman said.
08/20/2018 – WWMT – Officials warn public of dangerous water, swimming conditions
08/20/2018 – Chicago Tribune – Number of kids drowning in Lake Michigan increases; dangerous conditions continue Tuesday
08/20/2018 – NWI Times – Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project: 22 people have drowned in Lake Michigan this year as NWS forecasts life-threatening swim conditions
08/20/2018 – Hawaii News – There have been 64 drownings in the Great Lakes this year so far, with Lake Erie accounting for the most deaths. According to statistics from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, 23 people have died in Lake Erie between the start of the year and Aug. 19. The most recent drowning in Lake Erie according to the GLSRP occurred Friday morning when a man jumped out his boat near Put-in-Bay. He did not resurface. Lake Michigan follows Lake Erie with 21 total drowning deaths this year, including two this past weekend. Since the group started accumulating data in 2010, 687 Great Lakes drownings have been reported.
08/20/2018 – Cleveland Scene – More Drowning Deaths in Lake Erie Than Any Other Great Lake in 2018
08/20/2018 – Cleveland 19 News – Lake Erie has the most drowning deaths of the Great Lakes this year
08/20/2018 – Tuscon News – Lake Erie has the most drowning deaths of the Great Lakes this year
08/19/2018 – Your Erie – Water safety organization releases Great Lakes drowning statistics
08/19/2018 – ABC 7 – 3 boys, ages 10 to 14, die after being pulled from Lake Michigan at Indiana, Waukegan beaches – Friday evening a 14-year-old boy recovered from the water near Waukegan died Sunday. Saturday evening, 10-year-old Joshua Torres, of Chicago, and 14-year-old Malik Freeman, of Aurora, were pulled from the water within an hour of each other at the same Indiana Dunes State Park beach. Both boys also died.
08/19/2018 – WGN 9 – 3 boys drown during dangerous weekend for swimmers in Lake Michigan
08/19/2018 – NBC 15 – 2 killed, 1 in critical condition in separate drownings this weekend; bringing total to 64 across Great Lakes
08/19/2018 – Fox 6 – 2 killed, 1 in critical condition in separate drownings this weekend; bringing total to 64 across Great Lakes Unfortunately the boy in critical condition died. 65 Great Lakes Drownings in 2018; 24 of those in Lake Michigan, plus 1 last listed in Critical Condition. 688 Great Lakes drownings since 2010; 313 of those in Lake Michigan.
08/06/2018 – UpNorthLive – Safety tips for swimming in the Great Lakes — “It blows my mind that water safety curriculum isn’t in the state, statewide, because you’re always near a body of water,” said Dave Benjamin, the executive director of The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. “And it blows my mind that you have all these beaches with no life guards.”
08/06/2018 – WZZM – Tips for surviving a rip current in Lake Michigan – Rip currents are quite common in the Great Lakes; here are some survival tips if you get caught in one.
08/02/2018 – WSBT 22 – Special Report: What to do for a drowning victim after you call 911
07/31/2018 – WSBT 22 Promo – “When seconds count…”
07/30/2018 – Kenosha News – Water safety initiative calls on greater action to prevent drowning deaths — The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project gave a presentation Monday on water safety education to a group that included YMCA Executive Director Cindy Altergott, Somers Fire Chief Carson Wilkinson, John Raquet, and Peggy Burke, a Kenosha resident whose husband drowned in Lake Erie while on a fishing trip, among others.
The presentation focused on a number of ways people can prevent drownings, including the use of flotation devices, wearing life jackets, knowing weather and water conditions and identifying what drowning looks like.
The group also discussed ideas from staffing beaches with lifeguards to better signage indicating the dangers of swimming in dangerous areas, such as the Pike outlet, as well as flotation devices that could be placed in and around the piers. Some floats are equipped with live cameras and signals that allow 911 dispatchers to recognize that the device has been activated at a specific location.
The group recognizes funding will be a challenge but it also looked to see which businesses and nonprofits, as well as elected officials, step up to help bring water safety to the fore.
One thing for sure is it takes a community willing to come together to prevent drownings.
07/17/2018 – WNDU – Facebook Live – Beach Safety
07/17/2018 – WNDU – How to know if it’s safe to swim in Lake Michigan
07/17/2018 – Holland Sentinel – Second man drowns in Allegan County in two days
07/12/2018 – ABC Channel 10/13 – Under Water: Searching for Air Pt.
07/12/2018 – NBC – More Lifeguards, Signage Called for After Drowning Traged
07/12/2018 – WGN – After girl drowns in Lake Michigan, petition seeks extended lifeguard hour
07/12/2018 – Chicago Tribune – Darihanne’s death and lifeguard hours: Dealing with a fickle Lake Michigan
07/12/2018 – Chicago Tribune – A nighttime drowning in Lake Michigan – and no city lifeguards on duty prompts calls for change
07/12/2018 – Holland Sentinel – Advocates: More Great Lakes lifeguards are needed to prevent drownings – The Great Lakes State boasts the nation’s longest freshwater coastline. Each summer, tourists and locals in Michigan flock to beaches to cool off in the water. But along with beautiful sunsets on the shoreline and family memories, the Great Lakes carry danger in their powerful waters. Since 2010, 662 people have drowned in the Great Lakes, with nearly half of those drownings taking place on Lake Michigan. Yet despite of an average of 33 drownings per year, very few Lake Michigan beaches have lifeguards watching the waves.
“Lifeguards are the gold-standard when it comes to beach safety,” said Bob Pratt, education director at Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit which aims to eradicate Great Lakes drownings through water safety advocacy. “It’s frustrating to know there’s a solution to hundreds of people dying every decade from drownings, yet the powers that be don’t do what’s right.”
07/12/2018 – Holland Sentinel – Keep safe on the Great Lakes with these tips
07/12/2018 – Holland Sentinel – Quick Hits: Four thoughts on this week’s news 2. Invest in lake safety for summer – With Lake Michigan temperatures reaching into the 70s, we’re happy to share Holland’s beaches with tourists who come to soak up the West Michigan sun.
What we’re not happy to share is the danger that comes with swimming in the Great Lakes. As Audra Gamble and Melissa Frick reported Thursday, July 12, over 660 people have drowned in the Great Lakes since 2010. Almost half of those drownings take place in Lake Michigan. For those who aren’t from Michigan, the power of the big lake is often underestimated. This is especially true of teenage boys, who are some of the most likely populations to drown.
The “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign has been wildly successful, making Michigan a hotspot for summer vacations. To make the Pure Michigan campaign so effective, the state piled money into TV ads, billboards and radio spots. Perhaps it’s time the state also puts money into lifeguards that keep those families safe once they make their way to Michigan beaches.
The U.S. Coast Guard does a fine job of keeping Michigan’s waterways safe, but there’s clearly a need for more public education and eyes on the water to prevent us reporting on the 700th Great Lakes drowning later this year.
07/12/2018 – Kenosha News – Safety Around Water: Be aware of dangerous currents, winds and cold water
07/12/2018 – AP – US News & World Reports – Chicago Urged to Extend Lifeguard Hours After Drowning – The Chicago Park District is being urged to extend lifeguard patrols after the recent drowning of a 13-year-old girl.
07/10/2018 – WDIO – Thursday at Ten: Under Water: Searching for Air – According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Program, there have been 660 Great Lakes drownings since 2010, and there have been 37 already this year. Drowning was the reported cause of death in 80 percent of recreational boating fatalities in 2016, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and 83 percent of who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. There are ways to keep you and your family safe. How can you tell if there are dangerous rip currents and what should we do if we are ever caught in one?
07/08/2018 – WLNS – A look at safety on the water, following 4 drownings in Mid-Michigan this week
07/08/2018 – WBEZ 91.5 – Why Do Chicago Beaches Ban Flotation Devices? – Many people underestimate the dangers that come with the windy, unpredictable local conditions on the Great Lakes, says Dave Benjamin, a safety advocate who heads the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
“We’ve had 660 drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010,” he notes. “Half of those were in Lake Michigan,” and half of those happened in the south end of the lake, here in Chicago, and in Milwaukee and Northwest Indiana. Benjamin attributes these drownings, in part, to the shifting winds and dangerous water currents in the area. When you add flotation devices to that equation, he says, that combination can be surprisingly dangerous.
“These toys can actually pose some hazards that people are not aware of,” Benjamin says. “If there is a light offshore wind, it could blow the inflatable object into deeper water where the child or parent could go after it.” And when they go after it, he says, swimmers can end up in currents or winds that make it impossible to return. Other beachgoers can be blown far into the lake while on a flotation device that they can’t control. This happened to an Indiana couple in 2012 and to Chicago kids in 1988.
Two cousins — a boy and a girl — took a raft out near Montrose Harbor on a warm April afternoon, after the wind pushed them far into the lake. Finally, they jumped off to try to swim back, the winds were strong and the water was cold. A windsurfer was able to save the 11-year-old boy, but the boy’s 10-year-old cousin drowned. At the beaches in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, flotation devices are permitted but authorities “caution their use for safety reasons during strong winds, specifically south winds, as they can push swimmers far into Lake Michigan.”
And at the many completely unguarded beaches throughout Michigan’s Harbor Country on the other side of the lake, swimmers can use flotation devices freely — but at their own risk. For those folks, Benjamin has some advice: “Don’t go out in an inflatable raft with an offshore wind,” he says. “And if the wind blows an inflatable toy out, just let it go. It’s not worth it.” Finally, if you have to choose just one flotation device for your next trip to the beach, he says, “make it a U.S. Coast Guard-approved, properly fitting life jacket.”
06/07/2018 – Detroit News – Near-tragedy inspires [Jamie Racklyeft’s] Great Lakes anti-drowning effort
07/06/2018 – ABC 7 – dangerous waves, rip currents make local beaches hazardous
07/05/2018 – Pioneer Press – Water recreation can be fun, but also dangerous — FRANKFORT — While people turn to the water to get relief from the summer heat, it can also be dangerous, especially on Lake Michigan.
According to statistics from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, more people drown in Lake Michigan each year than any of the other Great Lakes. In 2017, 40 people drown in Lake Michigan. This year, seven have drown so far.
In any water emergency, the Great Lakes Surf and Rescue Project advocates a flip, float, follow strategy. If people think they are starting to drown, they need to remain calm and flip onto their backs and float. Just keep your head above water and keep your chest at the water level. Floating can calm people down. When people panic, they exhale more, and they deflate their lungs and lower their natural buoyancy. Floating also conserves energy. Once you are floating and calm, find the safest route out of the water.
07/05/2018 – Kenosha News – Another tragedy too easily avoided – It’s happened again — someone has drowned in Lake Michigan. In this most recent drowning, a 10-year-old girl was swimming near the area where the Pike River meets the lake Saturday evening when she began having trouble in the water. Her father, a 28-year-old Kenosha man who didn’t know how to swim, entered the water to save her. However, he soon got into trouble as well. When first responders arrived, he was “floating and being pushed by waves.” He was revived, but died two days later at a Kenosha hospital.
In 2015, Dave Benjamin, a spokesman for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, an organization that seeks to prevent drownings in the Great Lakes, said Michigan enacted legislation that shields municipalities from lawsuits related to safety equipment near the water.
And those life-saving devices work. “First off, life rings really do save lives. It’s irresponsible to have that access to water without having lifesaving devices there,” Benjamin said. “A life ring is one of the easiest ways to save a drowning victim, especially off a pier. We don’t advocate pier jumping, but we know people will do it. So having the equipment there is great.” More signs and the addition of life rings and ropes may not prevent another drowning, but if just one person is saved, isn’t it worth it?
07/01/2019 – Chicago Tribune – DNR hosts free events for public to explore Lake Michigan Water Trail — Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project was in attendance and set up a tented booth next to the lakeshore to teach children and adults about safety when in the water. Bob Pratt, director of education, said he teaches people to flip, float and follow when encountering an emergency in the water. Most folks know to stop, drop and roll when they catch on fire, he said, but many don’t realize what to do when faced with a potential drowning situation in the water.
06/30/2018 – ABC 7 – GLSRP at IL DNR Lake Michigan Water Trail Event at Winthrop Harbor.
06/30/2018-2 – ABC 7 – GLSRP at IL DNR Lake Michigan Water Trail Event at Winthrop Harbor — Chicago Weather: Excessive Heat Warning in effect for area as heat wave continues Saturday
06/30/2018 – Daily Herald – Excessive heat warning extended to 7 p.m. Sunday – – “We call this a lake, but it’s really like an inland sea. But when you come and use the lakes, you need to remember it’s not like a backyard pool,” said Bob Pratt, of The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
06/21/2018 – MLIVE – 99% of Great Lakes drowning victims weren’t wearing a life jacket — Since 2010, 643 people have drowned in the Great Lakes and all but six of those victims weren’t wearing a personal flotation device.
With summer’s arrival on Thursday, June 21, comes plenty of fun on the water, spurring officials, advocacy groups and loved ones of drowning victims to remind those recreating on a boat or kayak to always wear a life jacket.
To date this year, there have been 20 drownings on the Great Lakes, according to data from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a water safety advocacy group that tracks drownings. David Benjamin, a spokesman for the organization, said his team is working to confirm four additional drownings that may have taken place over the past few weeks.Seven of the 20 drownings this year occurred in Lake Michigan, which has been the deadliest of the Great Lakes over the past eight years.
There were 298 drownings on Lake Michigan since 2010 — making up about 46 percent of total drownings on the Great Lakes in the past eight years.
Benjamin said the number of drownings have fluctuated, but the dips in 2014 and 2015 were likely due to cooler-than-normal temperatures during the summer months. The organization doesn’t track inner-water drownings, like on rivers.
Benjamin got involved with the organization in 2010 after he nearly died from a drowning while surfing on the Great Lakes. Since then, he’s advocated for people to always wear properly fitted life jackets and take as many safety classes as possible, and then bigger tasks, like requiring retailers to sell life jackets with recreational watercraft, like paddle boards and kayaks.
People can find themselves in potential drowning situations after going overboard on a boat, simply jumping into the water to cool off or becoming detached from a towing activity, like water skiing or tubing.
But the No. 1 reason those people ultimately drown is because they weren’t wearing a life jacket. None of the Great Lakes drowning victims in 2017, for instance, were wearing a life jacket.
06/18/2018 – WNDU – Lifeguards get summer training for beach season
06/17/2018 – WSBT 22 – Lake Michigan beaches work to reduce drownings
06/15/2018 – WNDU – Officials prepare for busy Father’s Day weekend at Lake Michigan beaches
06/09/2018 – Video – GLSRP Open Water Surf Lifeguarding In-service…
06/08/2018 – NBC 5 – Authorities Warn of Dangers to Lake Michigan Swimmers
06/07/2018 – Post-Tribune – Lifeguards train to save lives at Indiana Dunes – On a windy day that caused the waves on Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes State Park to be even more unpredictable than usual, Bob Pratt, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project director of education, told the group of lifeguards that stood before him that they are going to train until they get it right.
“Most people’s experiences with lifeguards are at swimming pools, but a beach like Lake Michigan is far more challenging and requires a completely different skill set,” Pratt said. “We train harder than professional athletes in many cases. If (LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers star forward) has a bad day, he might not win the game. If a lifeguard has a bad day, someone might lose their life.”
Pratt and Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director, were tasked with leading over a dozen lifeguards, mostly teenagers, in an open water surf lifeguard training session Tuesday afternoon. Benjamin said, according to the Centers for Disease Control, that drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S. as well as worldwide, and that it is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4.
“We take the research, statistics and data and break it down, so beachgoers know it’s one of the leading causes of accidental deaths, which most people don’t know,” Benjamin said. “This summer with this grant (through the Indiana Department of National Resources), we can provide 24 hours of lifeguard in-service training for each Lake Michigan lifeguard.”
Benjamin said with the drowning of 16-year old boy, Angel Sedano of Gurnee, Ill., on Sunday, the number of Great Lakes drownings since 2010 is now 643, almost half of which occur in Lake Michigan. Benjamin said part of the training process is explaining the signs of a potential drowning victim and how to identify a potential victim.
“People assume drowning is a lot of waving, yelling and splashing as a long traumatic even at the surface of the water, but when someone is drowning it often appears as if they’re treading water,” Benjamin said. “If you don’t know what drowning looks like, you’ll miss it. We believe drowning is preventable and survivable.”
06/07/2018 – Western Michigan University – WSW: The Rare Lifeguard On A Great Lakes Beach In Michigan — Finding statistics on drownings in the Great Lakes is difficult. Malewitz says there is not a government source for those numbers. But the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project attempts to compile numbers by monitoring media and police reports. Bob Pratt, one of the two people who runs the project says there have been at least 640 drownings on the Great Lakes since 2010. But Pratt says it’s possible the number is higher.
Despite what is called a “vastly neglected area of public health,” it’s rare to find a lifeguard on a Great Lakes beach in Michigan. New Buffalo is an exception, there was a backlash when the city budget did not include money for lifeguards. Malewitz says after a very heated public meeting, the city council decided to stay the course for now, and keep lifeguards on New Buffalo beaches.
06/06/2018 – CBS – News of the Day – Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project; Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentation in Ogden Dunes June 16th.
06/06/2018 – CBS 2 – Mobile Weather Lab: Drowning Prevention — CBS 2’s Ed Curran is live with the Mobile Weather Lab to discuss drowning prevention. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports 20 people have already drowned so far this year.
05/21/2018 – Chicago Tribune – From one end of the region’s Lake Michigan shoreline to the other, officials who oversee beaches are making similar plans to line up lifeguards before Memorial Day weekend, the official kickoff of beach season.
The lifeguards, officials said, are in place for a reason: Lake Michigan can be dangerous and unpredictable. According to statistics from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a water safety advocacy organization, Lake Michigan claimed 291 lives between 2010 and 2017.
The year 2012 was the deadliest of those years, with 50 drownings; 2016 followed with 46. The lake claimed 40 lives last year, according to the project’s statistics.
At the Hammond Marina, Kruszynski said lifeguards would be on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week starting Memorial Day weekend.At Whihala Beach in Whiting, lifeguards have been a part of the seasonal mix as long as Mike Nastav, recreation director for Whiting Parks and Recreation, can remember.
“We feel it’s for the best for the safety. It’s obvious how dangerous Lake Michigan can be. The weather can change at the flick of a switch with the wind and the waves. We’re pretty cautious,” he said.
Indiana Dunes State Park, which has a large swath of beach in front of the pavilion, expanded its lifeguard corps last year to cover more territory, said property manager Brandt Baughman.
Previously, the beach east of Dunes Creek did not have lifeguards during the week but as that section of the beach got busier, the park could justify adding lifeguards there seven days a week, he said, adding the beach west of the creek had lifeguards seven days a week.
Last year was the first season the park had lifeguards on both sides of the creek for the entire week.
“I think that was something that made the park run a lot smoother,” Baughman said, adding people didn’t understand why that section of the beach was closed.
The park will have 20 lifeguard positions this year, comparable to last year, he said.
05/11/2017 – LaPorte County Life – City of Michigan City Shares Swimming Safety – “Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity for children and adults alike, and it’s an easy way to stay physically active and improve strength, flexibility and stamina,” said Park Superintendent Jeremy Kienitz. “The City of Michigan City is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible for everyone to swim and learn water safety practices.”
As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the City of Michigan City and Michigan City Area Schools have collated together in an effort to prevent “water emergencies.” Beginning May 15, 2017, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) will be educating our youth on the necessity of Lakefront Safety.
During this time students will learn the following safety tips to practice when in and around the water:
Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.
Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.
The Michigan City Fire Department is always concerned about the safety of our personnel and the safety of the public,” stated Fire Chief Randy Novak. “Drownings are 100% preventable, and we are committed to preventing all drowning’s in the City of Michigan City and adjacent communities. GLSRP is one of those water safety programs that we feel will assist us with reaching our goal of zero drownings.”
05/10/2018 – WNDU – Flip, Float, and Follow – U.S. Coast Guard stresses water safety as summer approaches – “Even the best of swimmers can get caught in something,” said BM2 Casey Johnson of Station St. Joseph. “For 2016, we had almost the highest number of fatalities and a lot of those came from paddle boarders or kayakers.”
05/04/2018 – Holland Sentinel – 3. Take proper precautions near the waterThere were 88 drownings in the Great Lakes last year, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. There have been six in 2018 already. Don’t be another statistic. Pay attention to red flag days, where it is not safe to enter the water; bring along flotation devices in case you tire while in the water; and, most importantly, watch out for one another. Be safe this season.
04/30/2018 – rockthelake.com – Why you should wear your lifejacket if you paddle this spring: safety tips for chilly Lake Erie
First, put on your personal flotation device — and dress for the water temperature, which in Lake Erie Monday was about 38 degrees. Since 2010, 631 people have drowned in the Great Lakes, said Bob Pratt, director of education for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. About 85 percent of them are men. And most drownings happen during this most dangerous time of the year, when frigid water incapacitates people who accidentally fall in. The U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday suspended the search for a man who reportedly fell off a boat in Sandusky Bay Friday night. “If you fall into 40-degree water without a life jacket on, your survival is measured in seconds — even if you’re a really good swimmer,” Pratt said. That’s because the body’s instant response to cold water is to gasp.
“This isn’t just a little gasp, like the kind you’d experience if somebody jumped out of a closet and scared you,” says the National Center for Cold Water Safety. It’s a huge gasp that totally fills your lungs… If your head is underwater when you gasp, you will immediately drown, and without the support of a PFD, you will head straight for the bottom.”
Men are less likely to take safety precautions, Pratt said. Hence, more drownings.
He urges kayakers, boaters and paddlers to wear their lifejackets, rather than just have them aboard. He compares lifejackets to seatbelts; you don’t put them on after you’re in a crash.
04/29/2018 – WSBT – Conference discusses ways to prevent drowning
04/24/2018 – Southend Tribune – New Buffalo votes to keep lifeguards this summer — “If you remove lifeguards, when seconds count help is going to be minutes away,’’ Benjamin said.
04/23/2018 – ABC 57 – New Buffalo votes to keep lifeguards this summer — The New Buffalo city council voted Monday to keep lifeguards on duty at least for one more summer. Although the council voted to keep the lifeguards this summer, it will revisit the discussion in the fall to determine if the program will continue in the future.
04/23/2018 – WNDU – New Buffalo beach will keep lifeguards – Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV who said he thought the city was rushed into the idea of going guard less, and that the city should “step back and look at this more carefully.” After another summer of the status quo, the mayor said the subject should be revisited in the fall.
04/23/2018 – WSBT – New Buffalo leaders have decided to keep lifeguard program for the summer
04/19/2018 – Record Eagle – Free YMCA class encourages adults to test the waters
04/18/2018 – Water Safety in Racine – The City of Racine, Wisconsin is using the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project project’s illustrations, the Signs of Drowning and Flip Float and Follow. Pretty sweet
04/18/2018 – Harbor County News – Don’t balance budget on backs of swimmers
04/14/2018 – Southbend Tribune – New Buffalo considers eliminating lifeguards Official: Understaffing creates ‘false sense of safety
04/12/2018 – Dave Benjamin speaks out at New Buffalo City Council Meeting – Lifeguards save lives, are an asset, are first responders.
04/12/2018 – Nora Howe speaks out at New Buffalo City Council Meeting – Don’t balance the budget on the backs of swimmers.
04/12/2018 – Peter Carey Speaks out at New Buffalo at City Council Meeting – to oppose the termination of the beach lifeguards
04/12/2018 – ABC 57 – Open forum held to discuss the future of New Buffalo lifeguards — “We were given three minutes today to talk about the importance of lifeguards, only three minutes. We want people to understand that for a drowning victim three minutes is the world,” says David Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. A final decision on whether to keep the lifeguards on New Buffalo beaches will be made at a public hearing at the end of May.
04/12/2018 – ABC 57 – Open forum to discuss future of New Buffalo lifeguards to be held Thursday
04/12/2018 – WZZM – Michigan beach town of New Buffalo axing its lifeguards, despite drownings — Last year, 40 people drowned in Lake Michigan, down slightly from 46 a year earlier, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a safety group that tracks drownings.
04/12/2018 – WNDU – New Buffalo City Council debates removal of lifeguards from budget — City leaders say they are simply not equipped to have well-trained lifeguards on duty at the New Buffalo beach. “I can’t get enough qualified lifeguards to apply,” said Richards. “I can’t employ enough qualified lifeguards, and we are creating the illusion of providing a lifeguard service; which I don’t think is fair to the community or to the beach users.”
04/12/2018 – WSBT – No lifeguards this summer? Future of New Buffalo lifeguard program in doubt — New Buffalo leaders are still debating the future of the city’s lifeguard program. They didn’t set any money aside in the budget for this summer or next. Some people are pretty unhappy about that.
Even on a beautiful day like today, they say the Great Lakes can be dangerous. Swimmers need to be protected from those dangers. But leaders with the city say that protection isn’t real, and is a liability. I can’t employ enough qualified lifeguards,” said David Richards, city manager. “We are creating the illusion of providing a lifeguard service, which I don’t think is fair to the community or to the beach users.”
Dave Benjamin with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says he’s seen lifeguards save lives in New Buffalo. He says the average beach-goer doesn’t know enough about water safety.
04/11/2018 – Detroit Free Press – Michigan beach town of New Buffalo axing its lifeguards, despite drownings — The city of New Buffalo wants to eliminate its dozen life guards due to liability, said city manager David Richards.
“It’s at the suggestion of our insurer, we’re eliminating life guards – at least proposing to eliminate life guards,” Richards said. Instead of lifeguards, he said, the beach would use existing flags and signs noting that visitors are swimming at their own risk.
[SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK is a Fallacy!] “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ people will die from this fatal decision but ‘when,’” said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Rescue Project. Since 2010, the Great Lakes Rescue Project has recorded 631 drownings in the Great Lakes.
“It’s risky to have lifeguards on duty. They give the impression that they are able to protect people when they go into the water and that’s not the case,” said David Richards, city manager.
Dave Benjamin with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue project couldn’t disagree more.
04/11/2018 – WSBT – New Buffalo leaders consider cutting lifeguard program – “Having no lifeguards at the beach makes it a lot less safe. On a long enough time line, I don’t believe it’s if we’ll have a drowning, it’s when will we have a drowning,” said Benjamin.
He says New Buffalo beach is unique because of the jetties and the boat channel. Benjamin says frequent winds from the north cause currents along the shore line.
“When they hit that pier, they go out and around that pier and one of the duties of lifeguards at that beach is to keep people from swimming in the water around that pier,” said Benjamin.
The city hasn’t made a final decision about the lifeguard program. Richards says the council has special meetings Thursday and Friday.
“They will decide if they want to move forward with lifeguards, and if they do then we will schedule public meetings for the residents to come in and express their opinions,” said Richards.
04/04/2018 – Northwest Indiana Times – Water safety group to debut public safety announcement via Facebook Live — The public service announcement has a focus on the Great Lakes, but is applicable to all bodies of water. It’s being presented by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project in partnership with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium and the Matthew Kocher Foundation.
The announcement will include comments from National Drowning Prevention Alliance Lifesaver of the Year award winners Bob Pratt, of East Lansing, Michigan; Melissa Zirkle, of Ashtabula, Ohio; and John and Kathy Kocher, of Tinley Park. The film also features NDPA Community Lifesaver Award winner Dave Benjamin, of Homewood, and drowning survivors Evelyn Hernandez, of Chicago, and Jamie Racklyeft, of Ann Arbor.
04/04/2018 – Journal Review – Water safety group to debut public safety announcement today via Facebook Live
03/30/2018 – The Herald Argus – Flip, float and follow — Surf Rescue educator gives advice for surviving in rough water
03/29/2018 – The News Dispatch – Bob Pratt, executive director of education at the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, spent the past week providing water safety education to Michigan City Area Schools students, and opened each of their 16 different presentations with the quiz [which ended with, “What do you do if you are drowning?”. Less than 5% of the students can answer it. ]
“We do such a great job teaching kids about fire safety, tornado drills, earthquakes, school shooters; but the fact of the matter is that drowning kills more people than all of those things combined,” Pratt said. “Yet there’s so little education regarding water safety, and we live on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in the country.”
Erin Breen, a kindergarten teacher at Marsh Elementary School, said, “Living in a beach community, our kids need this training. ‘Flip, float and follow’ should be second nature to them the way ‘stop, drop and roll’ is. I appreciate the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project for coming to MCAS, because the more kids who are exposed to this information, the fewer water-related accidents we’ll have.”
Since 2010, 631 people have drowned in the five Great Lakes; and 295 of those drowned in Lake Michigan.
03/29/2018 – Herald Palladium – Silver Beach seeks lifeguards, offers safety info — Lifeguards at Silver Beach must be at least 16 years old and have current American Red Cross (or equivalent) lifeguard certification and CPR certification for adults, children, and infants.
Pay is $10.40 an hour. Applicants will have to pass a lifesaving test at a local indoor pool before being hired.
Silver Beach lifeguards receive additional training throughout the summer season from U.S. Coast Guard, local law enforcement, and Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, among others.
03/14/2018 – MSU – Great Lakes Water Safety 2018 – Conference to address dangerous currents that continue to take lives April 26-27, Evanston, IL
03/13/2018 – NWI Times – Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project educators stress water safety to kids, say specific techniques should be learned LAKE STATION — Officials with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project said schools today will conduct fire drills, tornado drills and active shooter drills, but there are no schools that conduct water safety education. Yet, more school-age children may die from drowning each year in the United States than die in fires, tornadoes or even school shootings, they said. Edison sixth-grader Dakota Sullivan said he can swim a little but not very well. He said the most important aspect of what he learned was that “floating is the key to survival.”
02/19/2018 – NWI Times – UPDATE: Flood warnings issued for Little Cal at Munster, Kankakee River — Despite the warm-up, shelf ice remained along the Lake Michigan shoreline, prompting a warning Monday from the nonprofit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. The nonprofit issued a warning that walking on shelf ice is extremely dangerous after it received reports of two groups of people walking on shelf ice near Gary’s shoreline last weekend. A person easily can fall into hidden holes in shelf ice, with little chance of climbing out.
02/19/2018 – WLS 7 – Dangerous shelf ice forms along Lake Michigan
02/17/2018 – MDJ Online – Teaching others to swim safely — Benjamin’s life changed forever Dec. 26, 2010, when he had a nonfatal drowning accident.
He had a bad wipe out, fell on his back and had the wind knocked out of him. Waves pushed him to the bottom [and he struggled] for about two minutes, before he could get back to the surface and cough up the water. It took him another 38 minutes to float and backstroke back to the shore.
Benjamin decided he wanted to teach others about water safety and drowning prevention, and [organized] a surfboard rescue class in June 2011 [led by Bob Pratt]. A wide audience of police officers, firefighters, everyday people and surfers showed up, and the project grew.
He now serves as a [co-founder] and executive director at the nonprofit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, which has given 487 presentations since 2011. About 300 more presentations are scheduled this year, with 100 of those in Northwest Indiana, he said.
“Unfortunately, water safety and drowning survival is not common sense,” he said. “It’s a silent epidemic that gets very little proactive funding or attention.”
02/09/2018 – Petosky News – Water safety education important at any age
02/05/2018 – WWMT – Lake Michigan Winter Surfing
01/28/2018 – Lake Michigan Surfing – Mike Killion’s Monday Recap for the boyz
01/28/2018 – Lake Michigan Surfing – Gerri Matras Lanter Video
01/02/2018 – CTV News – ‘We must do better’: Group tracks 88 drownings on Great Lakes in 2017
01/01/2018 – PR – 88 Great Lakes Drownings in 2017; 625 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010 – Mom of drowning victim speaks out and helping schedule Water Safety Presentations for 2018
12/13/2017 – Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant – Great Lakes waves can make lake viewing dangerous — Don’t get swept away this winter while sightseeing near the Great Lakes.
Drownings occur in the Great Lakes every year. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, at least 99 people drowned in the Great Lakes in 2016; 622 since 2010. Many of these deaths happen when people swimming end up in dangerous currents such as rip or structural-caused currents. Other drownings happen because of boating or kayaking accidents. And several deaths each year occur when people are blown or washed off breakwaters, docks, cliffs and other similar nearshore structures.
Preventing these drownings in the Great Lakes can be as easy as checking the weather report. Any month of the year there is the potential for high waves in the Great Lakes. If you are headed to a Great Lakes shoreline to walk out on a breakwater, climb some nearshore rocks, or jog along a lakeshore path, it’s important to know what the predicted wave and wind patterns will be for the day. If the waves and winds will be high, then stay away from these types of areas. Be aware that icy buildups can increase your risk of falling in even on relatively calm days. It’s better to watch waves and the water from a safe distance, than to risk losing it all.
11/24/2017 – Petoskey News – Preventing people from jumping from the pierheads on Lake Michigan is the best action to take.
Officials from Michigan State University Michigan Sea Grant Extension, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project and the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium also were in attendance. Each of them took time to express the importance of water safety and education.
Leland Township Supervisor Susan Och also spoke about a young person who drowned on Aug. 30, 2012, at Vans Beach after jumping from a pier similar to Charlevoix’s. “I wish I wasn’t here. I wish that I didn’t know anything about structural currents, about rip currents,” Och said. “I was on the town board at the time (of the drowning) and that was the worst town board meeting ever … all of these seats are filled with people who want to know why you didn’t do something. There is a lot of regret.”
11/10/2017 – Green Bay Press Gazette – Blaming drowning victims is stupid, cruel
11/08/2017 – WBAY ABC 2 – State of Lake Michigan conference highlights importance of water safety education – One man says water safety education in schools could help stop what he calls a drowning epidemic in the Midwest. Since 2010, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project statistics show there have been 622 drownings in the Great Lakes, 292 of them in Lake Michigan, with 41 Lake Michigan fatalities so far this year.
10/27/2017 – Petoskey News – Officials: Pier-jumping illegal, dangerous activity – About 1/3 of drownings are current-related – “People should be aware of the dangers in the Great Lakes,” Benjamin said. “Our goal is to prevent Great Lakes drownings through training, public preparedness, and public awareness.”
Since 2010, 267 people have drowned in Lake Michigan, nearly half of all 564 Great Lakes drowning deaths. The only year with more than 100 deaths on all Great Lakes was in 2012, with 101 drowning deaths. “On average almost half — 47 percent — of all Great Lakes drownings happen on Lake Michigan,” Benjamin said.
Experts said the distinctive shape of the lake, which is 307 miles long with parallel, uninterrupted shores running north to south, makes it susceptible to dangerous currents. Lake Michigan is also the Great Lake with the sandiest shores, drawing more visitors and creating tides along sandbars that are deceptively strong and prone to risky currents.
“On all of the Great Lakes, Winds equals Waves and Waves equals Dangerous Currents,” Benjamin said. “The configuration of Lake Michigan as well as its residential population density and tourism population density creates a higher probability for accidents; i.e. simply said, the more people in and around the water, the more possibility for an accident to happen.”
Men, especially, are susceptible to drowning. Benjamin said 80 percent of drowning victims are male. “The psychology of men is that they’re more likely to take risks, to succumb to peer pressure and overestimate their abilities,” he said. “Boys don’t know that, moms don’t know that. Water safety is not common sense.”
Benjamin said, in his opinion, that’s where lifeguards are critical. “Lifeguards are first responders and just as important as police and firefighters,” he said “We’re a huge advocate for lifeguards. One of the biggest objections to having lifeguards, is that there’s no funding,” Benjamin added. “But if Pure Michigan can spend more than $30 million a year to bring people to water, which has billions of dollars in return through tourism, there’s money out there.”
He said that according to the World Health Organization, drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue. “This isn’t just Michigan. Every state has a tourism budget to bring people to water. In our opinion, drowning should be treated like a public health issue,” he said.
09/26/2017 – Manistee News Advocate – Fall and winter season pose new hazards to fishermen – The danger of drowning doesn’t disappear with the summer season. While some news outlets are claiming Lake Michigan saw fewer drowning deaths this past summer season than in 2016, Dave Benjamin, executive director of public relations and project management for Great Lakes Surf and Rescue Project, says people need to look at the big picture, not just during peak swimming months.
“We still have four more months to go,” Benjamin said. “Now what happens is, people may not see any more swimming drownings, but people might be washed off the pier, fall out of a boat or, as we get into December, fall through the ice while ice fishing. It could be kayakers, people on paddleboards or other recreational activities.” (Full Story here)
09/24/2017 – Holland Sentinel – ‘A much better summer:’ Drownings down from 2016 — Five people died in Ottawa County waters last year. This year, two drowned.
09/21/2017 – The News Dispatch – Surfing documentary to be held at Fire & Water – MICHIGAN CITY — A showing of “Southend: The Place Where I Go Surfing,” will be held at Fire & Water, 6 on the Lake, Michigan City (in Washington Park), on Friday at 6 p.m. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., and a question and answer session will be held at 7:10 p.m.
09/20/2017 – On Milwaukee – Our dear Lake Michigan is the deadliest of the Great Lakes [NOTE: The drowning stats listed in this article are outdated at 537 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010. The updated stats are 612 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010.]
09/10/2017 – The Cutoff News – Surfing the Region: Filmmaker brings documentary to NWI. “Southend: The Place Where I Go Surfing” was screened Sept. 14 at The Towle Theater in Hammond and will be screened again Sept. 22 at Fire and Water At Washington Park in Michigan City.
09/08/2017 – Post-Tribune – Sand, surf season ends with no drownings at lakefront parks. Note: There was a mix-up of some of the statistical information in the story.
“46” was the 2016 Lake Michigan Drownings yearend total.
If we we’re comparing Labor Day 2016 with Labor Day 2017…
By Labor Day 2016 there were 36 Lake Michigan Drownings.
By Labor Day 2017 there were 33 Lake Michigan Drownings.
09/05/2017 – Associated Press – Water Safety Group Finds Fewer Lake Michigan Drownings
A water safety nonprofit group has found that the number of drownings decreased this swim season on Lake Michigan compared with last year.
09/04/2017 – Chicago Sun-Times – 33 Lake Michigan drownings so far this year; down from 36 last year – Thirty-three people have drowned in Lake Michigan so far this year, compared with 36 in the same period last year. Three bodies found in the lake this year are not yet confirmed as drownings, said David Benjamin, executive director of the safety group.
A man was pulled from Lake Michigan on Friday morning near the 31st Street beach, but his cause of death hasn’t yet been confirmed nor has he been identified.
09/02/2017 – WZZM – 68 people have drowned in the Great Lakes in 2017
09/02/2017 – WISN ABC – Surfer helps save man from rough Lake Michigan At Bradford Beach
09/01/2017 – WNEM – Report: 68 drownings reported in Great Lakes this year
09/01/2017 – WLNS – Great Lakes drownings prompt warning for holiday swimmers
08/31/2017 – ABC 10 & 13 – August Was Deadliest Month So Far on Lake Superior in 2017 – Five people drowned in Lake Superior in August, with four drownings in a 2-week span.
08/30/2017 – Harbor County News – Summer of Saving Swimmers: New Buffalo lifeguards reflect on busy season NEW BUFFALO — The lifeguard crew at New Buffalo’s public beach has been very busy this summer. “My sister and I have rescued 17 people,” said 21-year-old Emily Richards while setting up for another day of guarding the beach on Friday, Aug. 25.
Emily Richards said the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project organization (including Bob Pratt and Dave Benjamin) has worked with the New Buffalo lifeguards on water safety issues such as board rescue techniques (which she has since used in actual rescues). “It’s fun to learn from people that have the same passion for lifeguarding that we do,” she said.
08/18/2017 – Detroit Free Press – Great Lakes drownings reach 600 since 2010 – While many folks in Michigan are turning their thoughts from summer days at the beach to backpacks and school supplies, there are still several weeks of warm weather for families to enjoy at the lake.
But that comes with a special warning as the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project releases the latest drowning statistics for the Great Lakes.
Since 2010 there have 600 drownings in the five Great Lakes. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, on average almost half of all Great Lakes drownings happen in Lake Michigan. They released their latest report Thursday.
The good news is that drownings are down this year over last year at about this time. By Sept. 2, of 2016, 73 drowning deaths had occurred. We are two weeks away from that date and so far this year the number stands at 63. While that is a step in the right direction, one life lost to drowning is too many. Just last week a father and daughter died after being rescued from dangerous currents in Lake Superior. Experts say too often swimmers overestimate their abilities and underestimate dangerous conditions.
08/13/2017 – WBBM’s At Issue: Drowning & Water Safety – Every year dozens of people will drown while swimming in Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes preventable deaths in most cases. WBBM’s Mike Krauser talks with Dave Benjamin, Executive Director at the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project about the risk of drowning and water safety.
08/11/2017 – My Sheboygan – Sheboygan resident and surfer Larry Williams talks about water safety.
08/08/2017 – Detroit Free Press – Illinois boy, 4, dies days after being pulled from Lake Michigan – In 2016, 98 people drowned in the Great Lakes – ranging in age from about 9 to 75, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit that tracks incidents and spreads awareness. The number nearly doubled the previous year, and was the worst for drownings since 2012.
08/05/2017 – Northwest Indiana Times – 7 ways to avoid drowning in Northwest Indiana
08/05/2017 – CBS 2 Chicago – Hammond Woman, Kaitlynn Boswinkle, 24, Found Dead in Gary’s Marquette Beach
08/01/2017 – Harbor County News – Matthew Ramirez, M-4 – a 4-year-old boy ‘fighting for his life’ after being pulled from Lake Michigan at Warren Dunes State Park on Tuesday afternoon. The preliminary investigation revealed several children were playing in the water and family members believed he had exited the water and returned to the beach with other family members.
07/31/2017 – WBEZ Public Radio – The GLSRP’s Dave Benjamin was be on WBEZ’s Morning Shift, 91.5 FM, Monday to discuss the current Great Lakes drowning statistics and Great Lakes Water Safety with host, Jenn White.
07/31/2017 – The Journal Times – Drowned teen’s life goal ‘was to help people’ — Water Safety Tips: Only one third of drownings that occur are due to dangerous currents, according to Dave Benjamin Executive Director of Public Relations for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a non-profit based in Illinois that educates school children about the dangers of water. “Something happens in the water that causes panic. When you are struggling in water over your head we recommend you flip over on your back, float and then follow the safest path out of the water,” Benjamin said. “When you are on your back try to cough to get the water out and calm yourself down.” Benjamin said flotation is the key — only five out of 589 reported Great Lakes drowning victims wore life jackets. “You have a better chance of survival in the Great Lakes if you have a life jacket. People don’t use them because they’re not fashionable, and restrictive or because they overestimate their true swimming ability,” Benjamin said.
07/29/2017 – NBC 5 – Brandt Miller, Flip, Float, and Follow & Weather App
07/28/2017 – Detroit Free Press – Lifeguards are the first reponders on the beach!
07/28/2017 – Detroit Free Press – 5 teens rescued from Lake Michigan, 3 hospitalized — This year, 49 people have drowned in the Great Lakes, at least 22 of them in Lake Michigan, where hidden rip currents are known to pull people away from beach areas, causing them to panic. In 2016, 98 people drowned in the Great Lakes – ranging in age from about 9 to 75, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit that tracks incidents and spreads awareness. The number nearly doubled the previous year, and was the worst for drownings since 2012.
07/28/2017 – WLS 7 – Life threatening waves, rip currents lead to swim bans – The latest statistics from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project report 49 drownings in the Great Lakes so far this year.
07/28/2017 – NBC 5 – ‘Stay Out of the Water’: Warning to Chicago-Area Beachgoers Extended
07/25/2017 – Ozaukee Press – Port Washington helps prepare beachgoers for possible emergencies with water safety cards
07/19/2017 – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – The Great Lakes are on track to see over 100 drownings this year, with half of those in Lake Michigan, said Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit group that collects data on drowning incidents. For the first time in five years, lifeguards are not on duty at Atwater Park beach due to a shortage of lifeguard applications received by the Milwaukee County Parks Department. Signs at the park advise visitors to swim at their own risk. But it is unclear if a lifeguard would have made a difference in Sareyi’s drowning. In the past, summer shifts for Atwater Park lifeguards were from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. And a lifeguard for the public beach would not have been able to see the break wall on private property from which Sareyi jumped, Tyke said.
07/19/2017 – South Bend Tribune – Paddle in awe of Great Lakes — in Michiana and up north – The nonprofit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports 45 drownings in the Great Lakes so far this year. None of the victims wore life jackets. Granted, some fell from shore rather than a boat. But, out of the 582 drownings since 2010, only five wore life jackets — all of whom died because they were in really cold water for a prolonged time, says Bob Pratt, the project’s director of education. It doesn’t do you any good if your life jacket just sits in the boat. When you need it, Pratt says, it would be like trying to fasten your seatbelt during an accident. And on a stand-up paddle board, he says, attach the leash to your ankle, which helps you to retrieve the board after you fall off.
07/12/2017 – WCMU Public Radio – 2017 may be deadliest year on Great Lakes – – “It’s important to understand what drowning looks like for two reasons, one so you can spot someone who’s in dire need of flotation, and two if you ever find yourself struggling in water and doing the signs of frowning you stop doing the signs of drowning and flip, float and follow.”
07/09/2017 – WTMJ 4 — 414Ward – How to prevent drownings
07/03/2017 – UpNorthLive – Your Health Matters: Increase drowning awareness
07/03/2017 – NBC 5 – Man Dies Trying to Rescue His Nephew in Water Near 63rd Street Beach
06/30/2017 – MLIVE – East Grand Rapids working to prevent drowning with SwimEGR
06/30/2017 – Northwest Indiana Times – NWI surfers featured in film ‘Southend’
06/30/2017 – The Detroit News – Michigan Rescue: Reduce Drownings
06/28/2017 – WJR News Talk 760 a.m. – Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Project talks to Paul W. Smith about the dangers of Lake Michigan rip [currents] tides. 6-28-17
06/25/2017 – Detroit Free Press – How even good swimmers are drowning in Lake Michigan
06/22/2017 – The Star Beacon – Conneaut Township Park offers life-saving gear at its popular beach
06/21/2017 – ABC 7 – Floating water park set to open on Lake Michigan in Whiting, Indiana — The $300,000 floating playground is a result of a joint venture between the city and the private company. The beach also plans to have kayak and paddleboard rentals. With the new attraction set to open this weekend, Bob Pratt and Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project spent the day teaching summer campers and kids about proper water safety.
06/21/2017 – NBC 5 Chicago – New Floating Water Park Emphasizes Safety in Indiana – Lake Michigan’s first floating water park will open in Whiting, IN this weekend, but there’s more than just fun to be had at the attraction, as educating the public about water safety is at the top of the agenda. NBC 5’s Regina Waldroup has the remarkable story.
06/19/2017 – WSBT 22 – Berrien County holding water rescue and emergency drill at Silver Beach – ST. JOSEPH, Mi. — It’s the time of year when thousands of you head to the beach. According to the Great Lakes Surf and Rescue Project, 2017 has been the deadliest year for the start to drowning season.
Lifeguards there are working hard to keep swimmers safe. Lifeguards say they need practice to make sure they can get you out of trouble.
They teamed up with the sheriff’s department, the Coast Guard, and EMS, all ready to save lives.
06/19/2017 – WZZM – VERIFY: Is Lake Michigan the deadliest Great Lake? Is Lake Michigan the deadliest Great Lake or just the most frequented?
We verified what is true using information from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit that tracks drowning statistics and trains people in water safety, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Thirty people have drowned in the Great Lakes during 2017 and 16 of those incidents happened in Lake Michigan. Dave Benjamin from Great Lakes Rescue Project explained that their organization is confident in labeling Lake Michigan as the deadliest.
He said they attribute this to the accessibility (beach access), population density in surrounding cities and the lake’s configuration (strong currents). Lake Michigan is only the third largest Great Lake but it is surrounded by densely populated cities, like Chicago.
Don Olson from the DNR said that the most visited parks are along Lake Michigan, and that state parks surrounding other Great Lakes have less visitors. We can verify that Lake Michigan is the most frequented of the Great Lakes and because of that it is also the deadliest.
06/18/2017 – ABC 57 – Michigan Lake named deadliest Great Lake – Over half of the drownings in the Great Lakes so far this year have occurred in Lake Michigan. This is Michigan Lake’s highest death count this time of year since 2012.
06/17/2017 – UpNorthLive – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore hosts first water safety expo It’s important to know the basics of water safety when out on the beaches this summer.
To help educate the public, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore hosted the first Water Adventure Expo on Saturday.
The expo event was inspired by, Tyler Spink. In September 2016, Tyler, 21, went kayaking without a life jacket in Lake Michigan and never returned.
06/11/2017 – WLNS 6 – Staying safe around water as summer approaches — “It’s shaping up to be a very hot summer and unfortunately that means that we’ll have an increase in the number of drownings,” says Bob Pratt, Director of Education at Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
Pratt says, more than 20 people in Michigan have died after drowning this year alone. Those numbers are being updated almost daily.
“The cold water plays a part, the wind and waves cause a part, so unfortunately it turns out to be a tragic situation,” says Pratt.
Pratt says, drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths in children ranging in age from 1 to 4. And although it’s portrayed on television as a dramatic, long lasting incident, Pratt says, drowning can happen in the blink of an eye.
“While there may be a little bit of splashing, lifeguards call it climbing the ladder, it will be this vertical motion of just trying to keep their head above the surface of the water, and especially with children it may only last a matter of second,” says Pratt.
He says, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself and those around, while still having fun in the sun.
For example, you can designate a “water watcher,” who will keep an eye on children at all times while in the water. Also making sure everyone is wearing a life vest.
“Of the 562 fatal drownings that we’ve reported since 2010, only 5 of them were wearing life jackets… That’s less than 1%,” says Pratt.
It’s called a life jacket, for a reason. Pratt says, wearing one can decrease your risk of drowning. He says it all boils down to this, respect the water and understand you need to be prepared for it.
06/11/2017 – Lansing State Journal – Bob Pratt, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s director, told the State Journal the Lansing man was 27 years old. The man’s death, Pratt said, marks the 560th fatal drowning on the Great Lakes since 2010.
Pratt said nearly half of all drowning deaths take place on Lake Michigan, a powerful body of water that’s often underestimated.
“It’s really more of an inland sea than just a lake,” Pratt said. “It has currents; it has waves; it has wind.”
06/11/2017 – CBS Chicago – At least three people drowned in Lake Michigan this weekend, including a woman pulled from the water near Loyola Beach on Saturday, prompting a warning about the dangers of swimming when the water is still dangerously cold.
While the weather hasn’t been really warm until recently, that hasn’t stopped people from going into the lake, oftentimes unprepared.
Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, said at least 16 people have drowned in Lake Michigan so far this year, more than all the other Great Lakes combined.
Benjamin said 46 people drowned in Lake Michigan last year, one of the worst years for the lake since the group started tracking drownings in 2010. With swimming season just getting started, this year could match that total.
“Right now, we are on a record pace to match last year,” he said.
06/11/2017 – PR – Drownings continue to rise — Lake Michigan leading the statistics — Hot weekend, strong south winds can cause hazards — Especially with beach toys — GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics. In 2017, the GLSRP is tracking 25 Great Lakes drownings.
06/08/2017 – Michigan Radio NPR – Holland tries new approach to warn people about dangerous lake conditions — The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports that 98 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, the most since 2012. Currents caused by wind or structures like piers can make swimming in the lakes dangerous.
06/07/2017 – UpNorthLive – Benzie County nurse, Barbara Smith, recognized as hometown health hero — She was awarded for her water safety advocacy efforts at the State Capitol during public health week in April.
06/05/2017 – Fox News Chicago – Whiting Open Water Surf Lifeguard In-service Training.
06/06/2017 – ABC 57 – Training session for Lake Michigan lifeguards – Lake Michigan lifeguards participated in an “open water surf lifeguard” training session Tuesday, June 6th in Michigan City. The training focused on the dangerous currents in the Great Lakes, rescue techniques, and CPR.
“Water safety is really important, since 2010 there’s been 559 fatal drownings on the five Great Lakes, typically almost half, 47%, happened on Lake Michigan and about half of those happen here at the south end of Lake Michigan so this is one of the most dangerous waters in the country,” said Director of Education for Great Lakes surf rescue project, Bob Pratt.
The training was led by the Great Lakes surf rescue project and the purpose of the training was to prevent deaths on the lake this summer. 2016 was the deadliest year on the lake.
06/07/2017 – Northwest Indiana Times – Training to combat drowning in the Region – Here in Northwest Indiana, drowning is always top of mind for lifeguards, especially those who trained on Tuesday morning at Washington Park beach in Michigan City, and on Monday at Whihala Beach in Whiting, as part of the Open Water Surf Lifeguard In-Service Training Program. The training was conducted by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
“There is a huge difference between pool and open water training. In a pool you have 100 percent visibility, warm water, consistent water depths and [the pool is a contained area]. In open water surf there are winds, waves, dangerous currents, drop-offs and holes, temperature fluctuations of 10 to 20 degrees in pockets, and thousands of people coming and going,” he said.
Using rescue boards, rescue cans, and rescue tubes, some 36 area lifeguards participated in [Monday and] Tuesday’s training.
Mo Hakim, one of the head lifeguards at Washington Park, realized the dangers of Lake Michigan firsthand last summer when he rescued a victim who dived off of the pier, even though this is forbidden. “Many deaths in the Great Lakes happen off of these structures,” he said, pointing to the pier, “and last summer was probably one of the roughest in a few years. I pulled a kid out who was under for 10 minutes. I dove down and got him off of the bottom of the lake, got him on a Coast Guard boat, and we transported him, and he’s alive today.” He said he hopes that this summer will be safer as people become educated to the dangers of Lake Michigan and Tuesday’s training helps lifeguard teams to properly respond.
Jacob Breault, a rookie lifeguard with Indiana Dunes State Park, says the training will no doubt help him this summer. “This is a lot different than a pool. You get the experience of a real rescue on wavy days,” he said.
06/07/2017 – Northwest Indiana Times – Gallery: Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project lifeguard training
06/06/2017 – MLIVE – 5 Lake Michigan beaches could have dangerous conditions today — There have been 20 drownings in the Great Lakes already this year, including 12 deaths in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project tracker.
06/06/2017 – ABC 7 – Lake Michigan beach hazard warning, swim advisory in effect Tuesday — “With a possibility of a closure on Wednesday, or maybe yellow flags on Wednesday, which means people allowed in the water up to a certain depth,” said Nick Kalwinski, Whihala Beach supervisor. There have been 20 drownings in the Great Lakes so far this year. Ten of those were in Lake Michigan.
06/05/2017 – ABC 7 – Weather service warns of high waves at Chicago beaches — It was training day for lifeguards at Whihala Beach in Whiting, Ind., where the strong winds and choppy waters actually created the ideal conditions for water safety education.
In addition to getting in the water, the lifeguards-in-training learned about the risk of drowning. David Benjamin with the Great Lakes Rescue Project, said drowning is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
Already in 2017 there have been 20 drownings in the Great Lakes, and 10 of those were in Lake Michigan.”On average, half of all Great Lakes drownings happen in Lake Michigan, and then half of Lake Michigan drownings happen in the south end of Lake Michigan,” Benjamin said.
Keeping in mind three simple steps if you find yourself in dangerous water can be a life saver. Just remember: Flip, float and follow.
“You flip on your back and you float – float to keep your head above water, float to conserve your energy, and float to calm yourself down from the fear and panic of drowning – and then follow the safest path out of the water. According to Benjamin, 66 percent of all drowning victims are good swimmers.
06/05/2017 – Lakeshore Public Radio – Don’t become another drowning statistic
06/03/2017 – The News Dispatch – In brief – Lake Michigan lifeguards to participate in MC training — Indiana Lake Michigan Lifeguards will be participating in one of these two Open Water Surf Lifeguard In-Service training sessions, Monday in Whiting, Indiana, or Tuesday in Michigan City.
The in-service training will focus on the worldwide drowning epidemic, how it relates to the Great Lakes region, Great Lakes dangerous currents, open water surf rescue techniques, and the latest water resuscitation CPR techniques (i.e. it will explain why Compression Only CPR is inappropriate for drowning victims).
The project is being headed by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, with Lifeguards out of Whiting, Chesterton, and Michigan City. It is sponsored by ArcelorMittal.
The Michigan City training will be held 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Point Pavilion, 6 On the Lake, Michigan City.
06/02/2017 – Holland Sentinel – City of Holland warns against swimming on red flag days at state beaches – Lake Michigan is the deadliest of the Great Lakes, causing nearly half of all Great Lakes fatalities in 2016. Forty-six people died on Lake Michigan last year, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
06/01/2017 – Wood TV – Holland groups create red flag video aimed at curbing drownings – A record number of drownings were recorded in the Great Lakes last year, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. The group says this year, there have been 20 possible drownings so far.
05/30/2017 – My North – Splash into Summer at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Water Adventure Expo
05/29/2017 – Chicago Tribune – Lake Michigan brings both beauty and danger to summer season – Benjamin and Pratt partnered with city officials, lifeguards and sponsor ArcelorMittal to host the event, which offered lessons similar to those the pair present to audiences all around the Great Lakes region.
05/27/2017 – Pantagraph – Don’t blame Darwin, says anti-drowning project leader — A director of a group working to prevent drowning in the Great Lakes area says stigmatizing drowning hampers such efforts. “People blame the victim, blame the parent or caretaker or blame Darwinism,” said Dave Benjamin, executive director of public relations and project management for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. But doing that gives people a false sense of security that it wouldn’t happen to them or their loved ones, said Benjamin.
In fact, it can happen to anyone and it can happen quickly. Part of the problem, according to Benjamin, is that people don’t know what they don’t know. Few people know that swimming ability alone might not be enough in a water emergency, he said.
05/26/2017 – Marquette Mining Journal – Officials talk water safety ahead of summer season – – According to statistics gathered by the GLSRP, 98 people drowned in the Great Lakes in 2016 — a 78 percent increase over the previous year.
“It’s going to continue to be a leading cause of accidental death until we start to look at the bigger picture,” said Benjamin. “There’s a huge disconnect. Information is not being delivered effectively or efficiently to the public.”
According to the American Red Cross, 54 percent of Americans do not have the basic swimming abilities to save their own lives in a water emergency. That statistic is based on a controlled setting, such as a pool, said Benjamin. But when you add in wind, waves, dangerous currents and cold water temperatures, that percentage would likely be higher.
Like the widely known “stop, drop and roll” technique used when clothing catches fire, Benjamin said everyone should know “flip, float and follow.” “If you want to live, you have to stay at the surface of the water and continue breathing,” he said. “If you can’t survive the initial drowning experience, you’re not going to make it out.” If in a water emergency, swimmers should flip over onto their back, float to keep their head above water, calm themselves down and conserve energy, and then follow the current to assess which way it’s flowing. Then, either swim perpendicular to the flow until reaching safety, or continue floating and try to signal for help if too tired to swim.
Benjamin and Bob Pratt, GLSRP’s executive director of education, are currently traveling throughout the Midwest to provide in-school presentations on water safety. They believe it’s the best approach to spreading information quickly, having completed more than 450 presentations in seven of the eight Great Lakes states. “They have fire drills, tornado drills, shooting drills and even earthquake drills in school,” said Benjamin. “But it’s more likely school-aged children will die from drowning. Why is there not water safety curriculum?”
With these presentations, as well as additional outreach, training, public awareness and preparedness efforts, GLSRP hopes to reduce the number of Great Lakes drownings. “It’s really simple. It’s not rocket science. It’s just bullet-pointed information that is not being delivered,” he said. “If people knew, they would be much safer and it would cause a huge decrease in drowning deaths.”
The stigma surrounding drowning, as well as the lack of industry-backing and scarce funding, also contribute to the epidemic, said Benjamin. “One of the main contributors is the stigma — when a drowning happens, from a public point of view, people blame the victim, blame the parents or blame it on Darwinism,” he said. “It gives the public a false sense of security that drowning wouldn’t happen to them, that it only happens to stupid people. It’s false. People think drowning happens to other people, until they become the other people.
05/26/2017 – Pantagraph – Experts urge safety on, near water – One problem is people don’t know what drowning looks like, says Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. It’s not like the movies, with a lot of splashing and yelling, he said. Instead, a person’s mouth might be barely above water level, with their head tilted back and body vertical, making ladder-climbing motions as they try to stay above water, explained Benjamin.
Benjamin said, “Learning how to swim isn’t enough.” Learning survival skills in a water emergency should start with children in school, he said. “’Flip-float-follow’ is the ‘stop-drop-and-roll’ of water safety,” said Benjamin, with the emphasis on float. He said people should flip to face up and float to control breathing, calm themselves and find an escape route to follow.
05/24/2017 – Tinley Junction – Tinley Park couple spreads water safety message in memory of son – Tinley Park residents John and Kathy Kocher, teaching water safety and giving back to their community is more than just a passion for them; it is their mission. The Kochers’ only child, Matt, drowned in Lake Michigan while at camp in 2013 at the age of 15, pulled from the shore by a rip current. That defining moment in the Kochers’ lives was the moment they knew they had to do something about water safety and drowning prevention, Kathy said.
05/17/2017 – Chicago Sun-Times – Balmy temps and frigid Lake Michigan a lethal mix — Tianna Hollinside, 13, and Juan Cornelio, 23, may have never known what hit them before they joined the ranks of Chicagoans who died too young.
But it wasn’t a bullet that killed them. It was cold water. Hollinside and Cornelio both drowned Tuesday in separate swimming accidents on Chicago’s north lakefront, lured to their deaths by balmy 80-degree-plus air temperatures that belied a fatally frigid Lake Michigan. Swimming may not even be the right word for what happened…
05/17/2017 – The News Dispatch – Staying safe in the Great Lakes – MICHIGAN CITY — “Ten people per day in the United States drown. Drowning is a huge, huge problem.” That was the sobering message Barker Middle School students received at the beach this week via Bob Pratt, the executive director of education for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
The Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentations were a collaboration between the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project the city of Michigan City, the Michigan City Fire Department and the Michigan City Parks and Recreation Department lifeguards.
05/17/2017 – PR – Memorial Water Safety Presentation or 2015 Lake Michigan Drowning Victim as Lake Michigan drownings are up 57% over 2016
05/16/2017 – PR – CRITICAL UPDATE: Great Lakes Drownings Increase; Water Safety Presentation Wednesday on the beach in Michigan City, Indiana.
05/15/2017 – ABC 57 – As summer nears, experts warn about dangers of Lake Michigan — Life-saving lessons along the lake shore. Last year there were 46 drownings in Lake Michigan plus 6 listed in Critical Condition. To date in 2017, there have been 9 drowning in Lake Michigan.
05/15/2017 – WSBT 22 – Students learn beach safety in Michigan City
05/14/2017 – PR – Michigan City Students Heading to the Beach this week for Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentations – The GLSRP is partnering with the City of Michigan City, the Michigan City Fire Department, and Michigan City Parks and Recreation Department lifeguards to perform Lake Michigan water safety presentations for Barker Middle School students.
05/11/2017 – Laporte County Life – City of Michigan City Shares Swimming Safety Tips – making their beaches SAFER!
05/07/2017 – PR – Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentation for Valparaiso Swim Club and the general public as Great Lakes drownings continue to rise in 2017
05/07/2017 – PR – National Lifesaver Award Winners Continue Efforts with Chicagoland Water Safety School Presentations this week – As Great Lakes drownings continue to rise in 2017
05/01/2017 – infoSuperior – Statistics Show Spike in Lake Superior Drownings — What if rescuers didn’t have to enter the water? Basically a remote controlled life ring, or drone, that could be kept at swimming beaches, on board vessels for man overboard situations or in emergancy response vehicles for cases involving potential drownings.
04/29/2017 – PR – Come on out today for a Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentation at the Green Gary – Earth Day Celebration – Lake Michigan Drownings were up 84% last year over 2015; Tracking 14 Great Lakes drownings in 2017
04/26/2017 – Liquid Adventuring – Drowning – It’s Not Just for Stupid People
04/23/2017 – Journal Sentinel – With Great Lakes drownings spiking, rescuers look to education, technology
04/19/2017 – Tinley Park Patch – Kocher’s Receive National Life Saving Award
04/19/2014 – CBS 2 Chicago – Lake Michigan Drownings Spike In 2016 – The number of drownings in Lake Michigan spiked 84 percent in 2016, compared with the previous year, according to a water safety advocacy group.
04/18/2017 – PR – Lake Michigan Drownings up 84% in 2016 over 2015; GLSRP presenting at the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium’s “Great Lakes Water Safety Conference” Thursday and Friday, April 20 and 21, at the Maywood Environmental Park, 3615 Mueller Rd. in Sheboygan, WI.
04/14/2017 – PR – Tinley Park Parents Win National Drowning Prevention Alliance “Lifesaver of the Year” Award for water safety advocacy after son’s Lake Michigan drowning – Announces Illinois Water Safety School Presentations May 8 – 12.
04/04/2017 – Stand Up Paddle the World Radio – Bob Pratt is serious about drowning, very serious. As an EMT and Lifeguard, he knows that drowning is preventable, especially in the sport of Stand Up Paddle Boarding. In fact, Bob believes the stand up paddle industry has a golden opportunity to introduce life preserver and leash safety early on in this exploding sport. Bob Pratt and The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project are both very serious about water safety and drowning and give many lifesaving tips in the interview.
04/01/2017 – News Dispatch – Staying Safe in the Water – MICHIGAN CITY — Flip. Float. Follow. Those three words were heard throughout Michigan City Area Schools this past week with hopes that they will be remembered by area students as well as “Stop, drop and roll” has. “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,” explained Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (www.GLSPR.org).
03/28/2017 – WSBT – Lake Michigan drownings up 84% in 2016; 19 Great Lakes Water Safety presentations in 9 Michigan City schools this week
03/27/2017 – Northwest Indiana Times – Lake Michigan was deadliest Great Lake last year – Water Safety School Presentations this week in Michigan City
03/26/2017 – PR – Great Lakes Drownings up 78% Last Year over 2015; Water safety presentations this week for Michigan City
03/20/2017 – UpNorthLive – Increase in drownings brings high need for water safety education
03/19/2017 – PR – 2016 Great Lakes Drownings increased 78% over 2015; Water Safety School Presentations this week in Benzie County, MI
03/16/2017 – Record Eagle – Great Lakes Surf Rescue teaches safety to water-loving residents – If “stop, drop and roll” can be accepted parts of childhood education, why not “flip, float and follow?” asks the founder and executive director of Great Lakes Surf Rescue.
03/06/2017 – MSU & MI Sea Grant – How can we stop drownings in the Great Lakes? Water safety conference to address ways to improve safety, education and more – Learn why drownings in the Great Lakes were up 78 percent last year and what you can do about it. Join the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium for compelling presentations by and networking opportunities with experts in water safety, risk communication, lifeguarding, beach safety, and hazard mitigation. Speakers from the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, National Weather Service, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, universities, and many others will share the latest science, techniques, and technologies. Upon completion of the conference, attendees will leave with new strategies, insights, and know-how to save lives in their communities and the best ways to respond in the event of a tragedy.
Register by March 20 for the early-bird rate of $49 ($59 after). Sponsorship opportunities are also available.
2012 GLSRP Media Mentions