Promoting water safety, saving lives in the Great Lakes through Michigan Sea Grant

Michigan Sea Grant implemented a multifaceted approach to public outreach and education about rip currents and other swimming hazards to improve beach safety on the Great Lakes.

Dangerous currents

Dangerous currents and breaking waves are common in the Great Lakes region. In 2017, 88 people drowned in the Great Lakes, according to Surf Rescue Project. Since 2010, the total fatalities reached 662 as of July 9, 2018. Michigan Sea Grant Extension and its partners, including local, state and federal agencies promote water safety throughout the Great Lakes region. 

Michigan Sea Grant implemented a multifaceted approach to public outreach and education about rip currents and other swimming hazards to improve beach safety on the Great Lakes. Included in the efforts were developing print and online outreach materials, conducting on-site beach safety workshops and conferences, and assisting in research. 

As a result of these efforts: 

  • Coastal communities have been supplied with water rescue equipment.
  • Great Lakes state parks are using a standardized system on dangerous currents signage, warning flags and distribution of educational materials and Lake Michigan beaches have been coded for their level of danger.
  • Attendees at a beach safety conference formed a Community of Practice to deal with Great Lakes dangerous currents.

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