More than 100 people die annually in the United States from drowning in rip currents, according to the United States Lifesaving Association, and in the past 12 years, 138 of these deaths occurred on the Great Lakes. As part of a multipronged public outreach project, Michigan Sea Grant, in collaboration with the National Weather Service, released The Great Lakes Current Incident Database, a searchable database of current-related Great Lakes fatalities and resources, a decade in the making.
“Michigan’s Great Lakes coasts, and the shore of Lake Michigan in particular, have become the epicenter of drowning-related deaths in the Great Lakes region,” said Elizabeth LaPorte, Michigan Sea Grant’s communications and education services director. Most Great Lakes beaches do not have trained lifeguards on duty. To address this issue, Michigan Sea Grant and its partners will install beach safety kits at 10 Lake Michigan public beaches.
The 2014 summer swimming season is just around the corner and several organizations, including The National Sea Grant College Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations, the United States Lifesaving Association and the National Park Service, have come together to sponsor a nationwide public education campaign beginning June 1st with Rip Current Awareness Week.