Who We Are
The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is a community of BEST practice, bringing together first responders, community leaders, park rangers, research scientists, lifeguards, meteorologists, survivors, loved ones, and other water safety advocates.
Our mission is to connect all groups and individuals interested in water safety to maximize our collective knowledge, resources, and actions to END DROWNING in the Great Lakes.
Why We’re Here
Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death in children 1-4. Nearly 600 people have drowned in the Great Lakes since we began tracking in 2010 – and virtually all of them were preventable. In 2016, there was an 80% spike in drownings, and 2017 may be the deadliest yet. We know why and what to do about it, but we need your help.
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.