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

Header Logo

Students Heading to the Beach for Water Safety

Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director

Students heading to the beach

for Lake Michigan Water Safety

GLSRP on Track for 100 presentations in Indiana –

Part of NOAA and IN DNR Grant

As Great Lakes drownings continue to rise in 2018

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces that it is partnering with the City of Michigan City, its Fire Department, and its Parks and Recreation Department lifeguards to perform Lake Michigan water safety presentations for Barker Middle School and Krueger Middle School students this week.

The Presentations are part of the Surf Rescue Project’s NOAA and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program $50,000 matching grant.  Matching funds for this grant were raised through an ArcelorMittal grant, in-kind match from coastal communities that have Lake Michigan lifeguards, and through GLSRP supporters.

The importance of Lake Michigan water safety education
“Water safety is extremely important in our area,” said Amy Hammon, Curriculum Coach at Barker Middle School. “Students do not realize the dangers of Lake Michigan.”

“Our school had two tragedies the summer of 2016. It’s time to infuse pier and water safety into our curriculum each year and turn the tragedies into something positive and meaningful that will save lives.”

In 2016 two people died after running into trouble swimming in the lake at Michigan City’s Washington Park Beach, including a 14-year-old boy, while another near-drowning at the beach left a 15-year-old boy in critical condition.  In another case at Washington Park, a 15-year-old Illinois girl almost drowned after she tried to rescue three boys who were struggling in the water. Lifeguards eventually rescued all four of the swimmers.

“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 Michigan City and adjacent communities.”

Great Lakes Drownings on the rise
In 2018, the GLSRP is tracking more than 6 possible Great Lakes drownings.  Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 631 Great Lakes drownings. Full statistics here.

“Unfortunately we know that the big picture of drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue and we know that it needs to be part of the school curriculum and addressed year round,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director.

“Water safety and drowning survival is not common sense. It’s a silent epidemic that gets very little proactive funding or attention. We believe that water safety and drowning survival is not rocket science,” Benjamin added. “It is simple bullet pointed information that is not being efficiently or effectively delivered.”


The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
The City of Michigan City, its Fire Department, and its Parks and Recreation Department
NOAA and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program Grant

Lake Michigan Water Safety Presentation

Washington Park Beach, Michigan City, IN

Monday, May 14, 2018
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Barker Middle School
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Barker Middle School

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Barker Middle School
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Krueger Middle School

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Krueger Middle School
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Krueger Middle School

Because drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue, so stay safe and have fun at the beach this summer!


The presentations age appropriately address the following topics so that participants understand:

  1. The Scope of Drowning: The Big Picture of the Drowning Statistics – Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death.
  1. The Signs of Drowning: The Hollywood Version vs. the Actual Version and How to identify a person in trouble.
  1. Drowning Survival Strategies: Flip, Float, and Follow
  1. Great Lakes Dangerous Currents: Winds = Waves = Dangerous Currents (rip, longshore, structural, and outlet currents and offshore winds) ; i.e. how, where, and why dangerous currents occur and how to survive them
  1. Basic Beach Safety: “Know before you go”; Swim near a lifeguard; Know where the emergency call boxes and rescue equipment are located; Wear a life jacket; “Steer clear of the pier”; know the signs of drowning and know Flip, Float, and Follow!
  1. Basic Water Rescue: Reach. Throw. Don’t go. Water rescue is very dangerous. Often times the ‘would-be’ rescuer also becomes a drowning victim. It’s important to understand how a flotation device such as a throw ring, throw rope, surfboard or other objects that float can rescue a person in distress or in a dangerous current.



The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is about saving lives.  It is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation that is a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA).


  1. Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics (551+ drownings since 2010)
  2. Performs “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations and trainings (Over 372 in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states since 2011)
  3. Works with family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims to advocate water safety.
  4. Hosts Open Water Surf Lifeguard Training and First Responder In-service Training

Mission: To eradicate drownings by being the leader of Great Lakes water safety by providing training, public preparedness, and public awareness.

Vision: Everyone in the Great Lakes region, nationwide and worldwide, is knowledgeable, engaged and proactive in water safety with an emphasis on the Great Lakes region.


  1. WGN Chicago’s Very Own segment, “Man makes water safety education his life’s passion”
  2. Dave Benjamin’s drowning accident and ‘Because I said I would’ water safety promise video
  3. John & Kathy Kocher’s “Gentle Giant” ‘Because I said I would promise video.

Like GLSRP’s Facebook Page
Follow GLSRP on Twitter @ripcurrentsafeT