Dangerous currents are a serious issue in the Great Lakes, contributing to many drowning deaths and emergency rescues throughout the region each year. From 2002 to 2012, for example, there have been more than 400 incidents related to dangerous currents along Michigan’s beaches alone.
Michigan Sea Grant has been working to spread the word about Great Lakes currents as part of the Dangerous Currents Outreach project. Three upcoming workshops will help educate natural resource professionals, community leaders and first responders about the issue. Workshops will be held in Muskegon, Traverse City and St. Ignace, June 4-6, respectively. In addition to Michigan Sea Grant, project partners include the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Coastal Zone Management Program, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the National Weather Service.
About Dangerous Currents
Dangerous currents can form in many different areas along the Great Lakes, including popular swimming beaches. Often there is some kind of structure — a pier, a jetty or even a hidden sandbar — that influences the development of dangerous currents. The situation turns deadly when a swimmer tries to swim against the current and becomes exhausted.
About the Workshops
The objective of the Dangerous Current Training workshops is to educate local, state and federal parks personnel, emergency responders, volunteers, researchers and educators about Great Lakes beach hazards. The workshops will take a “train the trainers” approach with information and resources specifically targeted for industry professionals.
Ultimately, providing knowledge and training to natural resources and rescue personnel is meant to encourage a proactive approach to waterfront safety and education. Each workshop will feature four main sessions:
- Session I: A Life and Death Issue: Personal Stories of Survivors
- Session II: Beach Hazards on the Great Lakes
- Session III: Beach Safety Efforts and Available Forecasts
- Session IV: Ongoing Great Lakes Beach Safety Projects
Michigan Sea Grant is hosting the workshops with support from the MDEQ Coastal Management Program. These workshops are a part of the Dangerous Currents outreach project. See: Project Page