The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium has several major accomplishments of which we are proud, which have resulted from volunteers serving on our Action Committees and following our Five-Point Plan:
1. Get the word out.
We hear all too often, "I didn't know..." there was so much to know about water safety. So last year, our community of BEST practice brought together all the water safety campaigns and risk communication messaging research we could find, and distilled the best of them down into our new Stay Safe, Don't Drown, Here's How brochures, which we have printed and are making available for free. We track Great Lakes drownings and rescues, including all the related data around each incident. We're also mentioning these life-saving water safety messages, facts, and stories as often as possible in media interviews, social media campaigns, training materials, PSAs, and more. All of these drownings were preventable if only they had known what we know.
2. Gather and disseminate wave and current research.
Research teams at Michigan Technological University, the University of Wisconsin, and others are studying the science of dangerous currents, waves, and conditions. They are discovering how warmer air temperatures affect water temperatures and higher water levels, and winds that bring increased wave energy closer to shore where the people are, which contribute to the rising number of drownings. They are mapping persistent dangerous conditions and are working to predict them to keep people safer. We help support and communicate their findings.
3. Recommend and offer warning systems and rescue equipment.
With so many experts in the Consortium, we are uniquely qualified to recommend universal warning signage and flag systems, and rescue equipment for any budget. We are taking orders for high-quality metal signs for placement in all eight Great Lakes states and Ontario. These signs include QR codes to check the current conditions at any Great Lakes beach, thanks to our partners at the National Weather Service. We can also recommend rescue equipment options, from life rings, rope throw bags, life jackets, and boards to 911 stations, webcams, and drones.
4. Provide water safety education, training, and consultation.
As with messaging, we are gathering and offering the best water safety training anywhere. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Sea Grant, local water safety task forces, and individuals consistently provide the most effective information on how to avoid, escape, and safety save others from dangerous currents and conditions. Whether your community has already suffered a drowning tragedy or wants to avoid one, we are here to help, including dispelling the myths some shoreline parks and beaches cite to avoid investing in keeping their beachgoers safe. Doing your own training? We ask that you include our water safety essentials slide deck, and then customize it to your beaches and tailor it to your audiences.
5. Advocate for lifeguards at all beaches.
As with beach warning signage and rescue equipment, too many communities use budgets as an excuse for laying off lifeguards. Our partners in the US Coast Guard and other experts are happy to help you justify hiring a highly-trained lifeguard to prevent a tragedy that would bring police, fire, EMS, search vessels, dive teams, search & rescue helicopters, and grief counselors, which cost a whole lot more. We have developed lifeguarding best practices, from our team of experts here.
These ambitious strategies cost money, so we ask for your generous tax-deductible donation, to help us keep people safer and END DROWNING in the Great Lakes. Thank you.