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Saving lives this summer

With the warm weather we've been having, more people are heading to the beach, and soon lots of them will be getting in the water.

According to members of the Surf Rescue Project there were 87 drownings last year in the Great Lakes, and about half of those were in Lake Michigan.

This year, the Surf Rescue Group along with the Third Coast Surf Shop is encouraging parents to be more active in preventing drownings.

Bob Pratt, the Director of Education for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says it takes 15 to 45 seconds to go from the initial stages of drowning to being submerged.

"The way people present themselves when drowning are facing shore, head back, mouth open, and usually a look of panic on there face said Pratt.

Pratt says the key is getting something to the victim that floats. This is what makes it so great to have surfers around Michigan beaches.

"They have thermal protection so they can stay in the water for a long time and they have a floatation device with them which is good enough for a couple victims" said Pratt.

It's also important to educate your children about the waters and watch them for the entirety of their time in the water. For instance, 10-year old Juliette Benjamin has been swimming since she was three, and knows exactly what to do in a rip current.

"Flip, float and follow. Flip on your back to calm yourself down. float to conserve energy, and follow the rip current to determine which way it is carrying you then swim diagonally to the shore for help" said Benjamin.
 

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