Great Lakes drownings reach 600 since 2010

600 drownings in Great Lakes since 2010, part 1

While many in West Michigan are turning their thoughts from summer days at the beach to backpacks and school supplies for another year, there are still several weeks of warm weather for families to enjoy at the lake.

But that comes with a special warning as the "Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project" releases the latest drowning statistics for the Great Lakes.

Since 2010 there have 600 drownings in the 5 Great Lakes. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, on average almost half of all Great Lakes Drownings happen in Lake Michigan. They released their latest report Thursday.

The good news is that drownings are down this year over last year at about this time. By September 2 of 2016, 73 drowning deaths had occurred. We are just two weeks away from that date and so far this year the number stands at 63.

While that is a step in the right direction, one life lost to drowning is too many. Just last week a father and daughter died after being rescued from dangerous currents in Lake Superior.

Experts say too often swimmers overestimate their abilities and underestimate dangerous conditions. 

While most Michigan beaches don't have life guards, many do have throw-able flotation devices. It's a good idea each time you go to the beach to locate where those devices are in case of an emergency.

You'll remember WZZM covered Holland's campaign to raise awareness about the flag warning system earlier this summer. It's very simple, when the flag is Red=Stop. Stay Out. Stay Alive.

If you do get caught in a rip current rescuers say the best thing to do is flip, float, follow. Flip over on your back so you can breath, float, then follow the current. It will pull you away from the beach, but then you should swim parallel to the beach out of it's grip.

For more about the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, click here.

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