June 4-10, 2017: Dangerous Currents, Waves and Water Safety Awareness Week

WHEREAS, about 11 people die each year because of dangerous currents in the Great Lakes. The currents that claimed the most lives over the past 15 years (2002-2016) are structural currents, rip currents, outlet currents, longshore currents, and channel currents; and,

WHEREAS, currents and high wave action can be forecasted. The eastern shore of Lake Michigan has the most current-related incidents of all the Great Lakes. Out of the 514 current-related incidents (rescues and drownings) on the Great Lakes that occurred from 2002-2016, over 71 percent of these were on Lake Michigan alone; and,

WHEREAS, dangerous currents develop when winds blow toward the shore, and waves are moderate to high (3 feet or higher). The majority of the victims (2002-2015) are between the ages of 10 to 27, male, and live within 90 miles of the beach where the incident occurred; and,

WHEREAS, everyone is encouraged to learn to swim and how to be safe in and around the water, and that it is never safe to swim near a structure, such as a pier or break wall; and,

WHEREAS, it is important to never go swimming alone, and to designate someone to watch people who are in the water. While people are encouraged to visit and enjoy Michigan beaches, it is important to be prepared with safety information, adhere to beach hazard statements, and avoid the water when conditions are not safe for swimming; and,

WHEREAS, it is important to avoid currents altogether; it is equally important to know how to survive one:  flip on your back, float to conserve energy, and follow the safest path out of the water-which could be along the line of the current until it is less strong; and,

WHEREAS, Great Lakes beach hazards are reported by the National Weather Service and may be found at:  http://www.weather.gov/greatlakes/beachhazards. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Injury and Violence Prevention Section will continue to share safety messages and review data to monitor incidents of drowning and rescue information from the Great Lakes;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 4-10, 2017 as Dangerous Currents, Waves and Water Safety Awareness Week in Michigan.