GreatLakesWaterSafety

Making Waves & Working Together to End Drowning in the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium (GLWSC) 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.

Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium Releases Lifesaving Tips for a Safer Summer

June 7, 2016
For more information, contact:
Jamie Racklyeft, jracklye@gmail.com

734.358.8982

For immediate release

Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium Releases Lifesaving Water Safety Tips

Beach Hazards Awareness Week Signals Start of Safer Summer

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium has released their top water safety tips during the National Weather Service’s Beach Hazards Awareness Week.
 

“There’s much more to being safe in the water than knowing how to swim,” says Jamie Racklyeft, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium and rip current survivor. “We want everyone to know how to avoid, escape, and safely save others from dangerous waves and currents as part of our collective efforts to end drowning in the Great Lakes. And we have more than 450 reasons for doing what we do.” 

 

Since 2010, there have been more than 450 tragic stories of drowning in the Great Lakes, including Marty Jordan, a 45-year-old social worker on vacation from Illinois, who was caught in a structural current along South Haven pier with five children who he managed to save with help of bystanders on the pier before succumbing to the waves. Matthew Kocher, 15, was earning community service hours for high school at camp in 2013, when this “gentle giant” was suddenly pulled away from shore by a Lake Michigan rip current. That same year, 13-year-old Jermaine Zirkle drowned in a Lake Erie rip current, in only a matter of minutes. In 2003, Andy Fox, 17, disappeared beneath the waves of Lake Michigan in Grand Haven during an after-school swim and never returned. And there are so many more.


The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is a “community of BEST practice” committed to ending drowning in the Great Lakes. Members include more than 200 water safety experts and advocates from the eight Great Lakes states and Ontario, with a wealth of knowledge they have been compiling, consolidating, and are now sharing. Here are their easy-to-remember tips for a safer summer:

 

L I F E S A V I N G   W A T E R   S A F E T Y   T I P S

AVOID Drowning – Be Current Smart

  • Know Before You Go – Check the National Weather Service for forecasts about dangerous waves & currents.

  • Stay Dry When Waves Are High – Whitewater/waves as little as 2-3 feet high can generate dangerous currents.

  • When in Doubt, Don’t Go Out – Respect the power of the water and don’t take chances.

  • Buddy Up – Never swim alone, there’s safety in numbers.

  • Wear a Life Jacket – Don't just bring it, wear it.

  • Steer Clear of the Pier – Most current-related incidents occur near structures.

 

ESCAPE Drowning – Be a Survivor

  • Don’t Fight the Current – Even Olympic swimmers can’t overcome the power of rip currents.

  • Yell for Help – Call for help as soon as you realize you’re in trouble – the closer you get to drowning, the harder it will be to yell.

  • Flip, Float & Follow

    • Flip – Flip over onto your back and stay calm.

    • Float – Float to keep your head above water and conserve energy.

    • Follow – Follow the safest path out of the water – swim to the side (parallel to shore) and if too tired to swim, keep floating.

 

SAFELY SAVE OTHERS from Drowning – Don’t Become a Victim

  • Be a Water Watcher – Designate someone to watch people in the water as their sole responsibility.

  • Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning – Know the signs of drowning – it’s not like Hollywood with lots of yelling and waving – it’s actually subtle and silent.

  • Save Yourself First – Don’t become a victim trying to save someone else – only go out with a flotation device (e.g. life ring, kayak, surf/paddle board, cooler, soccer ball) and keep it between you and the victim; have someone call 911 to get more help on the way. Wear a life jacket if available.

  • Preach, Reach, Throw, Row – Shout to the victim that help is on the way, try to reach them with a pole or rope, throw them a floatable, get to them on a board or in a boat/kayak/canoe.


 

For more information, visit the National Weather Service’s new interactive Great Lakes Beach Hazards page, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project page for drowning statistics and expert water safety training, and the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium’s resources page for a downloadable brochure with these lifesaving water safety tips and more.



 

ABOUT THE GLWSC
The mission of the nonprofit Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium 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.

 

GLWSC ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Follow on Twitter @GLWaterSafety  

Join Facebook group

Water Safety Superhero Award Public Voting Extended Through Sunday

April 7, 2016
For more information, contact:
Jamie Racklyeft, jracklye@gmail.com
734.358.8982

For immediate release

 

 

Water Safety Superhero Award Public Voting Extended Through Sunday

Inaugural award to be presented at Great Lakes Conference ceremonies in Cleveland and Grand Haven

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium (GLWSC) will present its first Water Safety Superhero Award at their inaugural Great Lakes Water Safety conferences, set for April 19 in Cleveland, OH and April 22 in Grand Haven, MI.

Nominations have been received from the 200+ Consortium members, representing water safety organizations from the eight Great Lake states and Ontario. Winners will be chosen based on voting from the Consortium and the public, and awarded at conference ceremonies. The one-minute voting ballot will be available at this link through Sunday, April 10:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLWSCawards16.

“Similar to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s Lifesaver of the Year Award, the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium’s Superhero Award will recognize people saving others or helping prevent drowning in the big lakes, whether it’s their job or not.” said Jamie Racklyeft executive director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium. “So many people are doing amazing work to keep people safer in the Great Lakes, we want to begin recognizing them with this award.”

Nominees include: Dave Benjamin, from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project; Tom Belt, retired fire chief from Marquette, MI; John & Kathy Kocher, who founded the Matthew Kocher Foundation in honor of their son who drowned in a rip current; Brandon Romero, Mason County Sheriff who saved a father and son; Ryan Schiller, deputy sheriff who saved a man from the Pentwater River; Diane Kooi, who rescued a drowning girl in Lake Michigan; and Zebulon Boeskool, a surfer who saved a 13-year-old girl in Grand Haven.

 

Drowning is a Year-Round Reality, and It’s Preventable

According to Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project statistics, there have been 446 drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010, and eight already in 2016.

“It may still be wintry, but people drown year-round, and we want to prepare everyone for the busy summer season with the latest life saving information from our many expert presenters,” said Racklyeft.

The public is invited to learn about waves and currents from research scientists, first responders, and other lifesaving experts at two Great Lakes water safety conferences this spring, including how to avoid, escape, and safely save others. Hosted by the new Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, there will be presenters representing the National Weather Service, Sea Grant Institute, research universities, local organizations, and popular vacation communities.

NDPA 2012 and 2016 Lifesaver of the Year Bob Pratt will keynote both events (photo attached).

 

Cleveland 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 19, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Register: https://glwsccleveland16.splashthat.com/

 

Grand Haven 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 22, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Grand Haven Community Center

Register: https://glwscgrandhaven16.splashthat.com/

 

Who Should Attend?

Everyone is welcome to attend and learn about ways to end drowning. Parents, community leaders, teachers, police, firefighters, EMTs, park rangers, the media – anyone who wants to learn to avoid, escape, and safely save others from waves and dangerous currents, and help spread water safety messages, including:

  • Know before you go

  • Stay dry when waves are high

  • When in doubt, don’t go out

  • Steer clear of the pier

  • Flip, float & follow

  • Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

 

Visit GreatLakesWaterSafety.org for more information, for training referrals, or to join the Consortium for free.

 

 

ABOUT THE GLWSC
The mission of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium 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.

 

 

 

GLWSC ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Follow on Twitter @GLWaterSafety  

Join Facebook group

 

 

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Lifesaver of the Year announced as keynote speaker for Great Lakes water safety conferences

April 5, 2016
For more information, contact:
Jamie Racklyeft, jracklye@gmail.com
734.358.8982

 

For immediate release

Lifesaver of the Year announced as keynote speaker for Great Lakes water safety conferences

The 2012 and 2016 NDPA Lifesaver of the Year to Open Cleveland and Grand Haven Events

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium (GLWSC) is proud to announce that water safety advocate Bob Pratt will be the keynote speaker at their inaugural Great Lakes Water Safety conferences, set for April 19 in Cleveland, OH and April 22 in Grand Haven, MI.

Bob Pratt retired from the East Lansing Fire Department in 2012, and since then has been leading the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) as co-founder and Executive Director of Education.

Bob began his career as a firefighter/ paramedic and rose to the rank of Fire Marshal  He served as the lead trainer for the department’s water and ice rescue training and  has taught water safety for several police and fire agencies in Michigan.

“We are thrilled to have Bob as the keynote at our first water safety conferences,” said Jamie Racklyeft executive director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium. “He is as passionate about water safety as anyone I have met, and a true champion for our mission of ending drowning in the Great Lakes.”

Pratt has served on the Health and Safety Committee for the mid-Michigan Red Cross for 20 years. He is currently a lifeguard, CPR, and First Aid instructor, and serves as a subject matter expert and media spokesperson.

In his GLSRP education role, Pratt has performed nearly 200 water safety presentations in seven of the eight Great Lakes states since 2011, and will surpass 240 presentations by June, 2016).

 

PRATT’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS INCLUDE:

  • March 29, 2016 – Received 2016 NDPA Community Lifesaver of the Year Award

  • May 6, 2015 – Presented at Great Lakes Beach Hazards & Water Safety Conference in Gaylord, MI

  • April 21, 2015 – Co-hosted and presented at the Great Lakes Beach Hazards & Water Safety Conference in Michigan City, IN

  • March  14, 2013 – Presented at the NDPA Annual Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

 

According to GLSRP statistics, there have been 447 drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010, and eight already in 2016.

The public is invited to learn about waves and currents from research scientists, first responders, and other lifesaving experts at two Great Lakes water safety conferences this spring, including how to avoid, escape, and safely save others. Hosted by the new Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, there will be presenters representing the National Weather Service, Sea Grant Institute, research universities, local organizations, and popular vacation communities.

Cleveland 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 19, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Register: https://glwsccleveland16.splashthat.com/

 

Grand Haven 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 22, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Grand Haven Community Center

Register: https://glwscgrandhaven16.splashthat.com/

 

Who Should Attend?

Everyone is welcome to attend and learn about ways to end drowning. Parents, community leaders, teachers, police, firefighters, EMTs, park rangers, the media – anyone who wants to learn to avoid, escape, and safely save others from waves and dangerous currents, and help spread water safety messages, including:

  • Stay dry when waves are high

  • When in doubt, don’t go out

  • Steer clear of the pier

  • Flip, float & follow

  • Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

 

Conference sessions will include waves & currents 101, interactive ideation, media training, storytelling from survivors and victims’ loved ones, local perspectives, and more. 

Visit GreatLakesWaterSafety.org for more information, for training referrals, or to join the Consortium for free.

 

ABOUT THE GLWSC

The mission of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium 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.

 

GLWSC ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Follow on Twitter @GLWaterSafety  

Join Facebook group

 

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Hugh Jackman saves swimmers – are ocean rip currents more dangerous than Great Lakes rip currents?

March 28, 2016
For more information, contact:
Jamie Racklyeft, jracklye@gmail.com
734.358.8982

For immediate release

 

Hugh Jackman saves swimmers – are ocean rip currents more dangerous than Great Lakes rip currents?

Learn how to avoid, escape and safely save others at Great Lakes water safety conferences

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — As we heard the news of actor Hugh Jackman, aka “The Wolverine,” heroically saving swimmers in Sydney, Australia, the dangers of waves and currents in the Great Lakes are brought to light.

 

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, the National Weather Service, and the Michigan Sea Grant, there have been nearly 450 drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010, with nearly 80 of them attributed to rip currents and structural currents, plus about 200 rescues.

 

“When a tragedy happens or when someone is rescued, we wonder how safe we really are when we head to the big lakes,” says Jamie Racklyeft, executive director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium and rip current survivor. “The waves look like fun, but we need to understand that even an Olympic swimmer can’t overpower the currents waves can generate. Of course we need to know how to swim, but there is much more in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe in the water, and these conferences have it all.”

 

The public is invited to learn about waves and currents from research scientists, first responders, and other lifesaving experts at two Great Lakes water safety conferences this spring, including how to avoid, escape, and safely save others. Hosted by the new Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, there will be presenters representing the National Weather Service, Sea Grant Institute, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, research universities, local organizations, and popular vacation communities.

 

Cleveland 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 19, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village, OH

Register: https://glwsccleveland16.splashthat.com/

 

Grand Haven 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 22, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Grand Haven Community Center

421 Columbus Avenue, Grand Haven, MI

Register: https://glwscgrandhaven16.splashthat.com/

 

Who Should Attend?

Everyone is welcome to attend and learn about ways to end drowning. Parents, community leaders, teachers, police, firefighters, EMTs, park rangers, the media – anyone who wants to learn to avoid, escape, and safely save others from waves and dangerous currents, and help spread water safety messages, including:

  • Stay dry when waves are high

  • When in doubt, don’t go out

  • Steer clear of the pier

  • Flip, float & follow

  • Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

 

Conference sessions will include waves & currents 101, a keynote address from a renowned water safety champion, interactive ideation sessions, media training, storytelling from survivors and victims’ loved ones, local perspectives, and more.

 

Visit GreatLakesWaterSafety.org for more information, for training referrals, or to join the Consortium for free.

 

ABOUT THE GLWSC
The mission of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium 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.

 

GLWSC ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Follow on Twitter @GLWaterSafety  

Join Facebook group




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Water safety conferences aim to end drowning in the Great Lakes

March 23, 2016
For more information, contact:
Jamie Racklyeft, jracklye@gmail.com

734.358.8982

For immediate release

Water safety conferences aim to end drowning in the Great Lakes

New Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium uniting groups in the region

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium (GLWSC) announced two Great Lakes water safety conferences this spring. There will be presenters representing the National Weather Service, Sea Grant Institute, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, research universities, and local communities.

Cleveland 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 19, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village, OH

Register: https://glwsccleveland16.splashthat.com/

 

Grand Haven 2016 Water Safety Conference:

April 22, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Grand Haven Community Center

421 Columbus Avenue, Grand Haven, MI

Register: https://glwscgrandhaven16.splashthat.com/

 

Since 2010 there have been 445 drownings in the Great Lakes (GLSRP statistics).

 

“Virtually all of them were preventable,” says Jamie Racklyeft, executive director of the GLWSC and rip current survivor. “Often when we hear of someone drowning in the Great Lakes, we wonder what else could be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Knowing how to swim is important, but there’s so much more to water safety.”

 

“We’re bringing together a roster of experts - first responders, research scientists, meteorologists, lifeguards, and other water safety advocates,” Racklyeft added. “If you want to keep people safer in the water this year, the experts at these informative and interactive events will let you know how.”

 

Dozens of groups have been working on their own over the years toward a common goal of preventing drowning, and are now working together to accelerate progress as members of this new Consortium - a “community of BEST practice.”

 

Who Should Attend?

Everyone is welcome to attend and learn about ways to end drowning. Parents, community leaders, teachers, police, firefighters, EMTs, park rangers, the media – anyone who wants to learn to avoid, escape, and safely save others from waves and dangerous currents, and help spread water safety messages, including:

  • Stay dry when waves are high

  • When in doubt, don’t go out

  • Steer clear of the pier

  • Flip, float & follow

  • Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

 

The conferences will include waves & currents 101, keynote from a renowned water safety champion, interactive ideation sessions, media training, storytelling from survivors and victims’ loved ones, local perspectives, and more.

 

Visit GreatLakesWaterSafety.org for more information, training referrals, signage & rescue equipment recommendations, or to join the Consortium for free.

 

 

ABOUT THE GLWSC
The mission of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium 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.

 

GLWSC ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Follow on Twitter @GLWaterSafety  

Join Facebook group

 

 

# # #

 

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: New Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium Aims to End Drowning in the Great Lakes

MEDIA ADVISORY: New Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium Aims to End Drowning in the Great Lakes

 

Ann Arbor, Mich – In an effort to connect all groups and individuals interested in water safety, the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium has been created.

Membership includes the National Weather Service, Sea Grant institutes from the Great Lakes states, the U.S. Coast Guard, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, and many more regional and local groups, task forces, and community members

By working together, the group aims to accelerate their individual progress toward a common goal of ending drowning in the Great Lakes.

 

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