Lake Michigan drownings nearly double; on pace to be the deadliest year on the Great Lakes

Posted at 2:50 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 21:58:21-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — It was another deadly weekend on the largest lakes in the nation, with two more drownings in Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan drownings are up 80% over this time last year and drownings on the Great Lakes are on pace to be the highest on record.

As of July 27, 64 people had drowned in the Great Lakes this year. After this past weekend, the Coast Guard says that number jumped to just over 70.

Lake Michigan has accounted for more drownings than any other Great Lake. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the nation.

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, 66% of all drowning victims were good swimmers. 54% of Americans don’t have the basic swimming endurance to survive a water emergency.

"Drowning is a marathon for your life" says Dave Benjamin, Executive Director with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. He says that if you want to survive, you have to remain calm and know a survival strategy.

Benjamin suggests to those caught in the water to flip, float and follow. Flip over on your back to keep your head above water and float.

Float to calm yourself down from the fear of drowning and to conserve energy before following a safe path out of the water when able.

If the risk seems small enough to you on dangerous days, make sure to at least let someone know where you are at all times and stay as close to the shore as possible.

The FOX 17 Meteorologists keep an up-to-date marine forecast here. It will give you an idea of what the wind, waves and potential hazards will be on the current day.