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2017 may be deadliest year on Great Lakes

Flickr User: Ewan Traveler /



The bodies of five people were recovered in the Great Lakes over the holiday weekend.


The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project said 39 drowning deaths have occurred on the Great Lakes this year.



Dave Benjamin is the Executive Director of the organization.


He said signs of drowning include mouth to water level, body facing shore, and the head titled back.


You can watch a video that shows what the signs of drowning are here.


“It’s important to understand what drowning looks like for two reasons, one so you can spot someone who's in dire need of flotation, and two if you ever find yourself struggling in water and doing the signs of frowning you stop doing the signs of drowning and flip, float and follow.”          


Benjamin said last year there were 99 total drownings.


“We’re now tracking 576 drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010. And of those 576 drownings in the Great Lakes, only five of them were wearing life jackets and they were in extreme cold weather for prolonged periods of time. So if you look at the numbers, you have less than a one percent chance of drowning in the great lakes if you're wearing a life vest.”


Benjamin said the surf rescue project is pushing to get a water safety curriculum in Michigan schools.