Great Lakes Water Safety 2018 Conference to address dangerous currents that continue to take lives

Great Lakes drownings down 11 percent in 2017 – conference will focus on education, prevention and intervention to help continue trend.

March 14, 2018 - Author: Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension

A water rescue station has been placed on a Lake Superior shoreline beach in Chocolay Township. Photo: Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant
A water rescue station has been placed on a Lake Superior shoreline beach in Chocolay Township. Photo: Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant

Are you ready for a safer 2018 in and around the big lakes? The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is bringing water safety experts and advocates together to share best practices and find drowning solutions to help everyone safely enjoy our Great Lakes at their annual Water Safety Conference, April 26-27, 2018, in Evanston, Illinois. The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium connects first responders, community leaders, park rangers, research scientists, meteorologists, survivors, loved ones, and other water safety advocates to maximize collective knowledge, resources, and actions to end drowning in the Great Lakes.

Rip, structural, outlet, and channel currents continue to take the lives of many swimmers each year. Each of these types of dangerous currents have unique characteristics that pose a danger to swimmers. Many coastal communities are working together on water safety measures that will help protect swimmers using their beaches. The work appears to be paying off. There were 11 percent fewer drownings in the Great Lakes during 2017 according to data from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. Those attending the conference will leave with new strategies, insights, and know-how to save lives in their communities and the best ways to respond in the event of a tragedy.

Do you work at a shoreline park or beach? Are you a first responder, community leader or other public servant? A survivor or the friend or loved one of someone lost? Come to the conference and learn ways to keep people safer this year. This year’s conference theme is education, prevention and intervention, and will include time for interaction with experts. There also will be bonus sessions, demos, and a few surprises. In addition, there will be a recognition of water safety heroes including Volunteer of the Year, Water Safety Superhero, and the new Wayne & Toni Brown Water Safety Lifetime Achievement Award.

The conference will provide two days of compelling presentations by and networking opportunities with experts in water safety, risk communication, lifeguarding, beach safety, and hazard mitigation. Presentations will be given by speakers from Michigan Sea Grant, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Michigan, Great Lakes Surf Rescue, National Weather Service, Evanston Fire Department and more.  

Registration is $89 ($69 for early bird registration through March 31, 2018). Register at the Great Lakes Water Safety Conference website. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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