Is Lake Michigan the deadliest Great Lake or just the most frequented?

We verified what is true using information from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a nonprofit that tracks drowning statistics and trains people in water safety, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Thirty people have drowned in the Great Lakes during 2017 and 16 of those incidents happened in Lake Michigan. Dave Benjamin from Great Lakes Rescue Project explained that their organization is confident in labeling Lake Michigan as the deadliest.

He said they attribute this to the accessibility (beach access), population density in surrounding cities and the lake's configuration (strong currents). Lake Michigan is only the third largest Great Lake but it is surrounded by densely populated cities, like Chicago.

Don Olson from the DNR said that the most visited parks are along Lake Michigan, and that state parks surrounding other Great Lakes have less visitors.

We can verify that Lake Michigan is the most frequented of the Great Lakes and because of that it is also the deadliest.


Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project provided the following resources to help others take caution:


Dave Benjamin, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project

Don Olson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources


Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project Stats


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