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More drownings in Lake Michigan occured in 2020 than in 2018

"Lake Michigan beach at Hog Island" by All Things Michigan is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

57 people have drowned in Lake Michigan this year, making it the deadliest on record. The pandemic played a role.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project has been tracking drownings on the Great Lakes since 2010.

Dave Benjamin is the executive director.

He says a lot of people went to the beach this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Water safety is not common sense. And when everyone wants to go out to the beach and the beaches don’t have lifeguards, and they don’t have the updated signage on beaches, it creates a recipe for fatalities unfortunately.”

Benjamin says Lake Michigan normally accounts for about half of all Great Lakes drownings each year.

So far in 2020 there have been 110, which is just seven shy of the record set in 2018.