Who We Are
The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is a Community of BEST Practice, bringing together water enthusiasts, first responders, community leaders, park rangers, research scientists, lifeguards, meteorologists, parents, survivors, loved ones, and other water safety advocates.
Why We’re Here
Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death in children 1-4, and #2 in children under 15. Nearly 750 people have drowned in the Great Lakes since tracking began in 2010, and 2018 saw a record number of tragedies.
Some Stories Behind the Numbers
Behind all the data and statistics, there are stories. Families and friends live day-to-day with the grief of losing a loved one to the big lakes. Here are just a few who are near and dear to our hearts.
In 2013, 13-year-old Jermaine Zirkle drowned in a Lake Erie structural current, in only a matter of minutes.
Matthew Kocher, 15, was earning community service hours for high school camp in 2013 when he was suddenly pulled away from shore by a Lake Michigan rip current.
In 2009, Marty Jordan, a 45-year-old social worker on vacation from Illinois, was caught in a structural current along South Haven pier with five children. He helped save them all before succumbing to the waves.
In 2003, Andy Fox, 17, disappeared beneath the waves of Lake Michigan in Grand Haven during an after-school swim and never returned.