Great Lakes Water Safety Conference 2011, Gaylord, MI

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NOTE: The Great Lakes Current Incident Database is at A public service announcement and other multimedia content about Rip Current Awareness Week are available at High-resolution photos are available at

ANN ARBOR—Over the past 12 years, 138 Great Lakes swimmers have drowned in incidents blamed at least in part on rip currents and other dangerous currents. Half of those deaths, 69 of them, occurred in Michigan.

Those are some of the grim statistics that can be pulled from a new searchable database of current-related Great Lakes fatalities and rescues, a collaborative effort of Michigan Sea Grant and the National Weather Service.

InMemorialThis effort includes:

  • The launch of the Great Lakes Current Incident Database (GLCID).
  • The installation of beach safety kits at public parks along Lake Michigan.
  • Educational materials for beach-goers and resource managers, including Water Watcher cards where responsible adults pledge to be a “water watcher” and keep an eye on their group.
  • Two new Great Lakes lessons and activities available free through Teaching Great Lakes Science.
  • A general awareness campaign with targeted messages for high-risk audiences, such as young men and parents.
  • The development of a web portal on dangerous currents in the Great Lakes, found at

The Great Lakes Current Incident Database has been in development for more than a decade and was started to help weather forecasters alert the public to potentially hazardous swimming conditions. The new tool went online in April and is also expected to be useful to researchers, the news media and the general public.

The searchable database is part of a multipronged public outreach project by Michigan Sea Grant aimed at reducing the risk of drowning from dangerous currents, which occur throughout the Great Lakes and are especially common along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

See: Full News Release

Swimmers in Waves