“This training was geared for surfers and professional water rescue personnel who are in a unique position to rescue people because they have a floatation device with them,” said Bob Pratt, a former lifeguard and currently fire marshal in East Lansing. “But the class has now been opened up to the public.”
In 2010, 74 people drowned in the Great Lakes — primarily due to rip currents. So far this year, there have been 39 Great Lakes drownings, Pratt said.
“There are hardly any lifeguards at beaches anymore,” Pratt added. “Most drownings occur during moderate wave action (waves of 2-6 feet), and every beach-goer has to be vigilant with their friends and families.”
For more information, visit the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project page on Facebook.com.