Great Lakes Beach Safety

Thank you to all of the drowning survivors and to the friends and family of Great Lakes drowning victims for bravely sharing your stories and for your work to improve water safety for all on the Great Lakes. 

Great Lakes governors designated this week, June 1-7, as Great Lakes Beach Safety Awareness Week!

Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages one to four and the fifth leading cause of death for the nation as a whole? Between 2010 and 2013, 328 people drowned in the Great Lakes, proper water safety training can help to reduce this number. 

Last week the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project hosted a press conference at Shedd on water safety in the Great Lakes. Great Lakes drowning survivors and family members of drowning victims came together to share their stories and stress the importance of water safety education. State and local officials including Marc Miller Director of the Illinois DNR shared plans for increased public awareness and  free water safety classes this summer. Even those who are strong swimmers are not a match for the powerful rip currents of the Great Lakes, having the knowledge and training of Great Lakes safety and rescue procedures can save a life. You can find a list of free water safety classes located in cities along Lake Michigan on the following website:

Christine Manninen, Communications Director of the Great Lakes Commission, also shared how technology can be a helpful tool in preparing the public for a day of safe recreation on the Great Lakes. The smartphone application myBeachCast is an informational tool that provides the latest swim advisories, weather conditions and hazard alerts for more than 2,000 beaches in the Great Lakes region. Click the following link to learn more and download the app:

The Great Lakes are a beautiful and fun resource and we strongly encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy them this summer, but first please educate yourself on water safety and always go to the beach prepared!