It won't be long before West Michigan beaches get crowded, but with the return of beach weather come reminders about water safety.

Last year, 53 people drowned on the Great Lakes. Twenty-three of them were on Lake Michigan.

On Tuesday, the organization that compiled those numbers held a water safety training for state and local officials.

Holland State Park was busy for the training, which showed those who monitor the beach what a drowning looks like. It's not what you might expect.

One video showed how, in just seconds, someone jumping into a swimming pool could quickly be actively drowning. The person recording the video was laughing, not understanding the seriousness of the situation.

"It tells me that people don't understand what drowning really looks like," said Bob Pratt, director of education for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

It's one of several training videos shown to state and local officials.

"We can just get the word out that drowning doesn't look like drowning; drowning is very different than the way Hollywood portrays it," said Pratt.

"I think it's extremely important, because since I've been here at Holland State Park I've been actively involved in 32 drowning incidents," said Erik Bailey, a state park ranger for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

"People think that there's all kinds of waving and yelling and carrying on, when in fact the victim is pushing down on the water desperately attempting to keep their head above the water," said Pratt.

Pratt says people drowning should flip, float, and follow.

"Follow the safest course back," said Pratt.

Pratt reminds anyone attempting a rescue to always bring a flotation device. He says the south end of Lake Michigan is considered some of the most dangerous water in the U.S. -- and even more so this time of year.

"Cold water really incapacitates someone; even for a good swimmer, 50-degree water can incapacitate them very quickly," said Pratt.

If the worst should happen, hopefully those in his training class will now have a better idea of when and how to respond.

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there have already been 12 drownings in the Great Lakes in 2016, and the busy summer season is yet to get into full swing.