GREAT LAKES, USA – While Port Washington residents await the body recovery of Tyler Buczek and mourn his loss, the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics. Tyler is one of the eight drownings over the Labor Day Weekend, increasing 2012’s Great Lakes Drownings to 88; 249 since 2010 (74 in 2010; 87 in 2011).
Tyler Buczek, 15, an 8th grade valedictorian and incoming freshman quarterback disappeared in the waves at a Port Washington beach as his closest friends watched. Tuesday was supposed to be his first day of high school. One of his friends was quotedas saying, 'We're all freshmen. It supposed to be we're all happy, we're in high school. But I don't think that's going to be how it is this year.'"
About the same time 30 miles north in Sheboygan the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project completed its water session of its "Water Safety Surf Rescue" class, as 61 year-old, Karl W. Schmidt was pulled out of Lake Michigan unresponsive just 350 yards north the class’ location (pictured above). Schmidt went out into the water to assist his 9-year-old grandson who went swimming too far from shore. The boy was assisted to shore by other beachgoers who moments later noticed that his grandfather had not returned to shore.
"How many more of these stories will we have to hear before water safety becomes a top priority on the Great Lakes," asked Dave Benjamin, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project?
“These drowning numbers do not happen on the East Coast or West Coast combined, and 99% of drownings are preventable.”
“The Lakes need Open Water/Rough Water lifeguards with rescue boards, the updated rip current survival strategy "FLIP, FLOAT, and FOLLOW" , updated beach signage tailored for the Great Lakes , warning flags, etc. Although some may think summer’s almost over, we could still have a lot of warm weather and drownings continuing into the fall.”
 the current rip current survival strategy "Don't panic" is ineffective and "Swim Parallel" to shore may not always work because of flash rip currents, longshore currents, and structural currents]
 current rip current signage was designed for the oceans and not accurate for the Great Lakes
What everyone should know before they put their toes in the water:
· Know the Michigan Sea Grants “Flip, Float, and Follow” Rip Current Survival Strategy
On Thursday08/30, Brian Rolston, 16, became the 81st person to drown in the Great Lakes when he was swimming in shallow water but in heavy surf at Van’s Beach, MI and a rip current swept him into deep water and he slipped beneath the surface.
On Friday, 08/31 Jeremy Gerber, 36, became the 82nd person to drown in the Great Lakes – waters were turbulent with high winds causing waves almost one metre high at Sauble Beach, Canada
On Saturday Chicago area man, Paul DeTrano, went missing while swimming north of Holland, MI. His body is found on Tuesday and he is presumed to have drowned.
--a 61 year-old male, Karl W. Schmidt, drowned at Deland Park, Sheboygan, WI, trying to rescue his grandson;
--Tyler Buczek, 15, 8th Grade valedictorian, quarterback, tomorrow was supposed to be his first day of high school, near Port Washington, WI in Lake Michigan (*missing and presumed drowned).
--Sunday (09/02) during high winds and waves on Lake Huron, two men decided to jump from their boat for a swim. The boat was far from shore and the men were not wearing life jackets. The winds pushed the boat away from the swimmers and the remaining people on board had trouble steering the vessel because the operator of the boat was one of the men who had jumped in the water. Other boat passengers manage to rescue one of the men, but the other slipped under the water. The search resumes today.
On Monday09/03 a 29 year-old male was pulled from Lake Erie near Long Point Provincial Park, Ont.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is about saving lives. It is a nonprofit corporation that is a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) that tracks drowning statistics, teaches “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes, and leads the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign on the Great Lakes.
It has been selected to present at the 2nd International Rip Current Symposium Nov. 1st, 2012 in Sydney, Australia; the 2012 winner of the “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community” award presented by the Dairyland Surf Classic; the 2011 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner; and a presenter at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 9, 2012.
2012 Great Lakes Drownings
(88 as of September 5)
(Info provided by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project)