Lake Michigan Drownings Surge To New High In 2020

Sep 30, 2020

 

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project has reported a record number of drownings on Lake Michigan this year. The non-profit, which tracks Great Lakes drownings, said that 53 people have drowned in the lake as of Sept. 26.

Dave Benjamin, co-founder of the Surf Rescue Project, said the uptick can be attributed to several factors, including the lack of a national water safety program and the ability to easily track drownings via news alerts.

But, another reason for the increase could be the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“We have the pandemic going on. A lot of pools are closed so people’s only option in some cases is to go to the beach if they want to get in the water and cool off somewhere,” Benjamin said.

 

Drowning data for Lake Michigan.
Credit Courtesy Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project

Even as the weather gets cooler, Benjamin said water safety should still be a priority for beachgoers. 

“So this time of the year, we start getting away from open-water swimming incidents to people getting washed off the piers or they’re falling off a boat.” 

Benjamin emphasized the need to check weather conditions and bring a flotation device on any lake excursion.

 

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo

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