HOLLAND, Mich — As a father, Greg Field is both heartbroken and mad about two recent drownings on Lake Michigan.
"It actually makes me angry because these happen and they're preventable," says Field. "Enough is enough. We've got to make a change."
Ron Olson with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says when the two boys went missing at Holland State Park there were no warning flags at the beach despite there being a red flag warning for dangerous conditions.
But if you ask Field, he'll tell you the flags aren't good enough anyway.
"The reality is that system fails to really protect somebody that's drowning because it doesn't happen fast enough," explains Field.
Through his non-profit, "The ARC Project," Field teaches water safety education, like how to stay calm if you get caught in a rip current.
"We teach kids take a deep breath to calm down, roll on your back, so you flip on your back and float for a minute," says Field. "And it kind of reminds you, oh wait a minute, I'm not actually sinking."
When he moved to Michigan from Florida, he was alarmed the lakeshore beaches didn't have lifeguards like at the ocean.
"When a beach is guarded you have instant response at the moment of the incident," says Field.
And his research backs that up.
According to a study he did with Michigan State, in 2018 there were 24 drownings at us lifeguard association protected beaches across the country. The Great Lakes alone had 117. He's brought this fact up with several state legislators.
"We spend all this money protecting the water and the environment, which is an awesome cause, but we're not protecting the people that go," says Field.
In the end, he believes safety at the beach is all about the proper education.
"We shouldn't fear it, but we should respect it and be informed before we head out to the beach," he says.
To learn more about The ARC Project and its mission, click here.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.