Get ready to celebrate Earth Day

Saginaw Bay region hosting hands-on activities on April 21, 2018 to celebrate Earth Day.

Litter cleanups are an easy way to protect our Great Lakes, promote healthy ecosystems and celebrate Earth Day. Photo: Stephanie Gandulla

Litter cleanups are an easy way to protect our Great Lakes, promote healthy ecosystems and celebrate Earth Day. Photo: Stephanie Gandulla

Earth Day celebrates our planet’s natural resources each year on April 22. First celebrated in 1970 with the support of Gaylord Nelson, former U.S. senator from Wisconsin, Earth Day signals the launch of the modern environmental movement. From hosting events to raise community awareness about environmental issues to leading stewardship efforts, there are many ways to celebrate. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has a list of Earth Day activities around the state, and in the Saginaw Bay region, community members have many opportunities.

  • At 8:30 a.m. April 21, 2018, Bay City residents can participate in Ed Golson’s 24th Annual Compost Event, where they can pick up compost at a site under Vet’s Bridge. Compost has many gardening benefits and is an efficient way to break down organic waste. Participants must bring their own shovel and container for this self-serve event. At 9 a.m., there will be two litter cleanups hosted at Golson Park (Boat Launch) and the River Walk & Rail Trail (800 John F. Kennedy Dr.). For more information on these opportunities, please visit Bay City’s Earth Day event page.
  • Bay County Extension 4-H Tech Wizards also have an event this year in partnership with the City Market. Participating the Earth Day Bag Project, 4-H members will learn about the impact of single-use plastics on our Great Lakes and ocean and will share the information with the public by decorating paper grocery bags. The decorated bags will be given to customers April 21 at the City Market to raise awareness about the importance of refusing to single use. 
  • Volunteers also are welcome to join U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 21, in Saginaw for an Earth Day Clean-up. Participants will tally litter found, and by removing the debris, they will help improve habitat for the migratory waterfowl.
  • The Children’s Zoo in Saginaw is also hosting an Earth Day event as their season opener from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21. There will be games and activities with the support of the Mid Michigan Waste Authority. The first 400 people with a recyclable beverage container will receive free admission.
  • In Midland, the 13th Annual Earth Day Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21 at the Midland Center for the Arts. Co-sponsored by the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art, the American Chemical Society – Midland Section and Midland Recyclers, this free event offers hands-on activities connecting to the theme, “Dive into Water Chemistry.”

Celebrating our Earth and its natural resources does not need to be limited to just Earth Day. Here are some daily practices that reduce waste and also protect our Great Lakes and oceans. Using the NOAA Marine Debris Tracker Application or the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach program, community members can organize their own litter cleanups, where they also collect citizen science data. Communities can help reduce marine debris by raising awareness about the common types of litter found locally.

Great Lakes Water Safety Conference

Event Date: 4/26/2018
End Date: 4/27/2018

Great Lakes drownings down 11 percent in 2017 – conference will focus on education, prevention and intervention to help continue trend.

A water rescue station has been placed on a Lake Superior shoreline beach in Chocolay Township. Photo: Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant

A water rescue station has been placed on a Lake Superior shoreline beach in Chocolay Township. Photo: Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant

Are you ready for a safer 2018 in and around the big lakes? The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is bringing water safety experts and advocates together to share best practices and find drowning solutions to help everyone safely enjoy our Great Lakes at their annual Water Safety Conference, April 26-27, 2018, in Evanston, Illinois. The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium connects first responders, community leaders, park rangers, research scientists, meteorologists, survivors, loved ones, and other water safety advocates to maximize collective knowledge, resources, and actions to end drowning in the Great Lakes.

Rip, structural, outlet, and channel currents continue to take the lives of many swimmers each year. Each of these types of dangerous currents have unique characteristics that pose a danger to swimmers. Many coastal communities are working together on water safety measures that will help protect swimmers using their beaches. The work appears to be paying off. There were 11 percent fewer drownings in the Great Lakes during 2017 according to data from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. Those attending the conference will leave with new strategies, insights, and know-how to save lives in their communities and the best ways to respond in the event of a tragedy.

Do you work at a shoreline park or beach? Are you a first responder, community leader or other public servant? A survivor or the friend or loved one of someone lost? Come to the conference and learn ways to keep people safer this year. This year’s conference theme is education, prevention and intervention, and will include time for interaction with experts. There also will be bonus sessions, demos, and a few surprises. In addition, there will be a recognition of water safety heroes including Volunteer of the Year, Water Safety Superhero, and the new Wayne & Toni Brown Water Safety Lifetime Achievement Award.

The conference will provide two days of compelling presentations by and networking opportunities with experts in water safety, risk communication, lifeguarding, beach safety, and hazard mitigation. Presentations will be given by speakers from Michigan Sea Grant, Minnesota Sea GrantUniversity of MichiganGreat Lakes Surf RescueNational Weather ServiceEvanston Fire Department and more.  

Registration is $89 ($69 for early bird registration through March 31, 2018). Register at the Great Lakes Water Safety Conference website. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Learn more about declining Great Lakes prey fish populations

A cross-basin overview reviews status and trends of prey fish from 1978 to 2016.

The research vessel Sturgeon conducts prey fish trawl surveys on the Great Lakes. Photo: Great Lakes Fishery Commission

The research vessel Sturgeon conducts prey fish trawl surveys on the Great Lakes. Photo: Great Lakes Fishery Commission

There were massive changes in the Great Lakes fish communities during the 20th century. During that time proliferation of sea lamprey, alewife, and smelt occurred. In the mid-20th century the collapse of native fish communities, such as lake trout and ciscoes occurred. In the late 20th century there was stocking of trout and salmon; the invasion and proliferation of zebra mussels, quagga mussels, spiny waterfleas, and round gobies; declines in Diporeia (small, shrimp-like crustacean), alewife, and rainbow smelt; and the oligotrophication of Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Ontario because of low phosphorus inputs and the cropping of phytoplankton by quagga mussels. An oligotrophic lake has a deficiency of plant nutrients, usually accompanied by an abundance of dissolved oxygen.

Given this scenario questions are asked on how similar or different are the changes in fish communities across the Great Lakes and what could be causing these changes? Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension recently held an educational session at the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference. At the conference Chuck Madenjian of the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center discussed this topic and reviewed data prepared by his colleague Owen Gorman with other contributors from U.S. Geological Survey, Ohio Department of Natural ResourcesNew York Department of Environmental ConservationPennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Here is a summary of his presentation on Great Lakes prey fish:

Assessments of Great Lakes prey fish stocks have been conducted annually by the U.S. Geological Survey since the 1970s using bottom trawl surveys. The focus of the surveys has been on the prey species cisco, bloater, rainbow smelt, alewife, and round goby. Total prey fish (alewife, rainbow smelt, bloater, and cisco) biomass declined during 1978-2016 in Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. Lake Ontario is now different based on a new correction factor and prey fish biomass was not available for Lake Erie.

Coregonids

There was a synchronous decline in coregonid (whitefish, cisco or lake herring, bloater, kiyi) biomass in Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron during 1978-2016 with peak biomass occurring during 1989-1992. Lake Huron showed a coregonid rebound during 2008-2012. Predation does not appear to be the primary driver of bloater dynamics during 1978-2016. Some fishery biologists believe predation on bloaters by salmon and trout is more important nowadays than during the 1980s and 1990s, but most of the diet data do not support this contention. There may be population-intrinsic factors (sex ratio); changes in climate patterns; changes in trawl catchability over time due to changes in bloater behavior or increased water transparency in Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Alewife

In Lakes Huron and Michigan there was a synchronous decline in alewife biomass during 1978-2016. Alewife is the dominant prey fish in Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Ontario. It is rare in Lakes Superior and Erie. Predation has been the primary driver of alewife dynamics in Lake Michigan since the 1960s and it is likely the main driver of alewife dynamics in Lakes Huron and Ontario as well.

Rainbow smelt

Rainbow smelt had a synchronous decline in Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, and Ontario during 1978-2016. Lake Superior peaked earlier than the other lakes in 1978. In these four lakes, rainbow smelt was an important prey species before the mid-1990s and is now a minor prey species. Predation appears to be the primary driver of rainbow smelt dynamics in Lake Superior but not in Lake Michigan.

Round goby

Round goby biomass increased in Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario during the 1990s or 2000s, then peaked, perhaps even decreased somewhat, and appears to have leveled off in all four lakes. Further increases in round goby biomass are not expected. Round gobies in Lake Superior are mainly limited to harbors. Round goby populations in Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario now appear to be under some degree of predatory control as they are fed upon by smallmouth bass, lake whitefish, burbot, lake trout, brown trout, yellow perch, other fish and birds. There are relatively high annual mortality rates (> 60% each year) in open waters of Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie.

Clean Marina Classroom Live: Petoskey

Event Date: 3/14/2018

When: March 14, 2018
Where: City of Petoskey Winer Sports Park, 1100 Winter Park Lane Petoskey, MI 49770
Workshop Host: Kendall Klingelsmith, City of Petoskey Marina

The Clean Marina Classroom is going on the road! In spring 2018, the Michigan Clean Marina Program will offer several in-person workshops. Michigan Sea Grant staff and Clean Marina certification specialists will cover important lessons from the online classroom tied to mandatory and recommended best practices for becoming a Clean Marina. Pledged marinas, as well as marinas due for re-certification in 2018, are invited to attend.

For the Classroom Live workshop to be effective, participants must take the following steps before the workshop:

    • Register for the workshop (dates and locations below).
    • Sign the Clean Marina pledge form (new and re-certifying marinas) and pay the required pledge fee (new marinas only).
    • Log in to the online classroom and complete the marina self-assessment (also called the certification checklist).
    • Bring your self-assessment, a notebook (paper and pencil or laptop) and your calendar to the workshop.

In return, each marina will leave with:

  • Clean Marina Classroom certificate
  • Scheduled certification site visit date
  • Prize for completing the workshop evaluation and survey

Other Locations

Harrison Township

When: March 27, 2018
Where: Thomas Welsh Activity Center, Lake St. Clair Metropark, 31300 Metro Parkway, Harrison Township, MI 48045
Workshop Host: Joe Hall and Sue Knapp

Great Lakes waves can make lake viewing dangerous

Don’t get swept away this winter while sightseeing near the Great Lakes.

Waves on Lake Michigan crash over nearshore structures.  Photo: Justin Selden, Michigan State University Extension

Waves on Lake Michigan crash over nearshore structures. Photo: Justin Selden, Michigan State University Extension

Winter is a spectacular time to visit Great Lakes shorelines. Intense storms lead to massive waves crashing over breakwaters and lighthouses with stunning dark skies as backdrops. While these waves and weather make for interesting viewing, they can also be life threatening.

Drownings occur in the Great Lakes every year. According to the Great Lakes Surf and Rescue Project, at least 99 people drowned in the Great Lakes in 2016. Many of these deaths happen when people swimming end up in dangerous currents such as rip or structural-caused currents. Other drownings happen because of boating or kayaking accidents. And several deaths each year occur when people are blown or washed off breakwaters, docks, cliffs and other similar nearshore structures.

The months of October, November and December are when extremely windy days will kick up massive waves across all five of the Great Lakes. On Oct. 24, 2017, one such storm swept across the northern Great Lakes. Buoys run by the Great Lakes Observation System (GLOS), a critical Great Lakes information-collecting network, recorded record wave height on Lake Superior with waves reaching an incredible 28.8 feet in height. With the waves came many sightseers eager to witness the display of force by the lake. Unfortunately, two people observing from a popular cliff-like rock formation near Marquette were swept into the lake and lost their lives.

Lake Superior isn’t the only lake where high winds and crashing waves have resulted in the loss of life. Fishermen on Lake Michigan standing on local breakwaters have been swept away or fallen into the water under high wind and icy conditions. Some folks walking or jogging along shorelines near Chicago have also fallen into the lake when large waves washed over them. The mix of high waves, strong winds, and often icy conditions can make piers, nearshore cliffs and breakwalls all dangerous structures.

Preventing these drownings in the Great Lakes can be as easy as checking the weather report. Any month of the year there is the potential for high waves in the Great Lakes. If you are headed to a Great Lakes shoreline to walk out on a breakwater, climb some nearshore rocks, or jog along a lakeshore path, it’s important to know what the predicted wave and wind patterns will be for the day. If the waves and winds will be high, then stay away from these types of areas. Be aware that icy buildups can increase your risk of falling in even on relatively calm days. It’s better to watch waves and the water from a safe distance, than to risk losing it all.

May, June showers bring higher Great Lake water levels for summer 2017

Great Lake levels are up with Lake Ontario reaching an all-time high.

Lake Ontario reached an all-time record high in May 2017, resulting in impacts to coastal homeowners and more. High Water Event, New York. Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs

Lake Ontario reached an all-time record high in May 2017, resulting in impacts to coastal homeowners and more. High Water Event, New York. Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs

Have you seen the news on high lake levels on Lake Ontario? Lake Ontario reached all-time record highs in May 2017, resulting in significant coastal community, road, infrastructure and homeowner impacts. Currently the weekly Lake Ontario levels show Lake Ontario is about 30 inches higher than this time last year and 28” above the long term average in June. Colleagues with New York Sea Grant Extension are aiding in this crisis, using a scientific survey to determine impacts of the high water levels. The large rise can be attributed to very high precipitation on the basin, getting almost double the average precipitation as normal.

Back in Michigan, significant rain storms happened in late June 2017, particularly impacting the Saginaw Bay area. The United States Army Corps of Engineers estimates that Lakes Michigan-Huron rose a full 6 inches from April to May during the spring rise and had above average water supplies coming into the system. Lakes Michigan-Huron are forecast to be on the high side of average, about 15 inches above the long term average.

Lake Superior also rose about 6 inches during seasonal rise in May, being about 8 inches above the long term average and about 2” higher than in 2016. Precipitation and net basin supply was above average, with outflows above average through the St. Marys River.

Lake Erie is about 19” above its long term average and 9” above May 2016 levels and the most recent predictions are that it has reached the peak water level for 2017 and will decline about 3” over the next month.

As we head further into summer 2017, visitors to the beaches and boat launch ramps will notice these somewhat higher lake levels. Other great tools to check lake levels include the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory’s  online Great Lakes Water Level Dashboard.

It is amazing to think back of just about 5 years ago to the fall/winter of 2012/2013. Lake Michigan/Huron actually reached the record low level ever recorded in January 2013, in close to 100 years of accurate measurements. The strong rebound from these record lows is unprecedented in our history of measurements.

This summer season is well upon us and it will be interesting to see if levels follow the typical pattern of seasonal decline or if strong precipitation drives them further up. No matter what, be careful in all your water access – swim with flotation devices; be extra careful at launch ramps; and enjoy the dynamic coast of these freshwater seas.

New Canadian law will change rules for American boaters and anglers

Kayak event on the Detroit River

Kayak event on the Detroit River

Reporting to Canadian Customs no longer necessary under certain conditions.

Things are about to get easier for American boaters and anglers who venture into Canadian waters thanks to a new border enforcement law stemming from a bill drafted by Canadian Sen. Bob Runciman and recently signed by Governor General David Johnston. The House version was authored by House of Commons member Gordon Brown.

Bill S-233 received Royal Assent on June 19, 2017, meaning that American boaters and anglers will no longer be required to report to Canadian Customs as long as they do not leave their vessel, land, anchor, moor, or make contact with another conveyance in Canadian waters. However, the new law does require that boaters and anglers report to Canadian Customs if requested to do so by Customs agents. The change also means Canadians who venture into United States waters also do not have to contact Canadian Customs unless they leave their vessel, land, anchor, moor, or make contact with another conveyance in U.S. waters.

Prior to passage of the new law, American boaters and anglers were required to call Canadian Customs at (888) 226-7277 to check-in with their passport number, boat registration and express their intentions for entering Canadian waters and how long they anticipated being there.

“The reporting requirements were overly rigid, they were out of step with those facing Canadians who enter U.S. waters and they were hurting the economy of tourism-dependent border regions. And they didn’t do anything to enhance border security,” said Sen. Bob Runciman when asked why the rule change was important.

Although the new law makes it easier to boat and fish in Canadian waters, remember that valid fishing licenses are always required when fishing in U.S. and Canadian waters.

Additional information about Bill S-233 can be found on Sen. Runciman’s web­­site. The Royal Assent can be found on the Parliament of Canada website.

Drill Conductor Training Courses

Event Date: 7/11/2017
End Date: 7/13/2017

Two Drill Conductor Training courses for Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains offered

On-vessel drill training is held at Red Cliff Indian Reservation during one of the 2016 Drill Conductor Training courses.

On-vessel drill training is held at Red Cliff Indian Reservation during one of the 2016 Drill Conductor Training courses. Photo: Jim Thannum | Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills that cover 10 contingencies spelled out U.S. Coast Guard regulation.

Michigan Sea Grant, Wisconsin Sea Grant, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission are coordinating two Drill Conductor Training courses that will be held at Bay Mills Indian Community (Michigan) and Red Cliff Indian Reservation(Wisconsin) this summer.

These courses will help Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains fulfill U.S. Coast Guard regulations related to instruction, drills and safety orientations, and onboard emergency instruction.

Required training

Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills that cover 10 contingencies spelled out in the regulation. Persons conducting these drills must have passed a Drill Conductor Training course.

Contingencies covered include:

  • Abandoning vessel
  • Fighting fire in different locations on vessel
  • Recovering an individual from the water
  • Minimizing effects of unintentional flooding
  • Launching survival craft and recovering life boats and rescue boats
  • Donning immersion suits and other wearable floatation devices
  • Donning fireman’s outfit and self-contained breathing apparatus if equipped
  • Making a voice radio distress call and using visual distress signals
  • Activating the general alarm
  • Reporting inoperative alarm systems and fire detection system

Other requirements

Both drills and instructions must be conducted each month. Operators are required to give comprehensive orientations to all new persons coming aboard before departure. Commercial fishers need to have written safety information onboard. Depending on crew size this information needs to be posted if four or more crew members are onboard or kept as an available booklet if less than four crew members. AMSEA provides copies of the required information as part of the Drill Conductor class.

Emergency instruction must identify:

  • Survival craft embarkation stations aboard vessel and survival craft to which each individual is assigned
  • Fire and emergency signal and abandon ship signal
  • If immersion suits are provided, the location of suits and illustrated instructions for donning
  • Procedures for making a distress call
  • Essential action that must be taken in an emergency by each individual
  • Procedures for rough weather at sea, crossing hazardous bars, flooding, and anchoring of the vessel
  • Procedures to be used in the event an individual falls overboard
  • Procedures for fighting a fire

Who should attend?

The commercial fishing vessel operator or captain should be the one to attend a Drill Conductor class. If space is limited, we encourage the operator or captain to be the only participant from the crew. However, if there is room in class, we encourage crew members to participate, too. Most of our classes include both operators and crew. The schedule for the upcoming classes include:

All Drill Conductor classes run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and you must register at the AMSEA web site to attend one of the Drill Conductor classes. For additional information you can contact Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant) at (906) 226-3687 or kinnune1@msu.edu.

Training rated ‘excellent’

Last year six classes were conducted in the Great Lakes region. The Drill Conductor Training courses were evaluated by the 77 attendees who rated the training as excellent and indicated the emergency drills on actual vessels helped increase their proficiency should an emergency arise. These courses had representation from commercial fishers from Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie and also included four U.S. Coast Guard personnel needing the training for their jobs.

Learn more

Read about experiences of previous trainees: Great Lakes commercial fishers get hands-on experience in emergency procedures

Clean Marina programs extend stewardship of the Great Lakes environment

Marina on Lake Superior

Michigan Sea Grant, as coordinator of the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network, has been active in supporting environmental sensitivity in the recreational boating industry. It recently provided two grants to support Great Lakes Clean Marina programs. It also produced and distributed informational signs to all of the Clean Marina programs in the region on best practices for environmental stewardship while boating. The network also developed a list of discounts certified Clean Marinas are eligible to receive, including a 10 percent underwriting credit on general liability insurance. With an average $15,000 policy, this credit results in a savings of $1,500 per year.

Clean Marina programs work to reduce pollution to coastal waters by encouraging environmentally friendly marina and boating practices. The Great Lakes Clean Marina Network is a forum for these programs to share resources, information, and best management practices. Funding for the grants and signs was made possible by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

“These projects and signs help Clean Marina programs in their efforts to protect the waters and coastlines that boaters enjoy,” notes Jim Diana, Michigan Sea Grant director. “We are pleased that insurance providers see the value of this program in helping marinas be safer and cleaner.”

Two $5,000 awards were provided to Clean Marina programs in the Great Lakes Region. The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program will expand program participation and certifications by increasing in-person technical assistance and improving program promotion, outreach, and training. The Ohio Clean Marina Program will create a model illustrating Clean Marina best management practices (BMPs) and how an “ideal” clean marina may function and appear. They will also work with agency experts to develop voluntary BMPs not already included in the certification criteria to address additional marina needs and goals.

All funded projects will report to the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network to share best practices and lessons learned.

To learn more about the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network and view a list of discounts available to certified Clean Marinas, visit glcleanmarina.org.

Contacts:
Catherine Riseng, Research Program Manager, (734) 936-3622, criseng@umich.edu
Rhett Register, Communications Program Leader, (734) 647-0767, rregist@umich.edu

Deployment of water safety equipment in the Great Lakes has saved lives

Multi-year project has placed rescue and safety kits at more than 50 Great Lakes beaches.

Water Rescue Station is shown at Northern Lake Michigan

Water Rescue Station is shown at Northern Lake Michigan. Photo: Ron Kinnunen – Michigan Sea Grant

Recently, the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium brought together water safety organizations and advocates committed to ending drowning in the Great Lakes through education, collaboration, and action at their annual conference in Sheboygan, Wis. Michigan Sea Grant presented on beach safety equipment distribution and use on high risk beaches in the Great Lakes region. The beach safety equipment was secured through a NOAA Coastal Storms Program grant.

In 2014 Michigan Sea Grant working with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network conducted a beach equipment needs assessment, chose equipment to go in beach safety kits, and developed an equipment survey. In 2015 beach safety equipment was distributed throughout the Great Lakes region, a follow-up survey was completed, a social media messaging campaign was implemented, and assistance was provided with the formation of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium. Additional beach safety equipment was distributed in 2016 and emergency instructional placards were developed and distributed for use on rescue stations.

Water safety equipment provided to these high risk dangerous currents Great Lakes coastal communities included youth and adult life vests, rescue throw-ring buoys and throw bags, and rescue boards and tubes. These products were specified based on safety ratings, recommendations by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Life Saving Association, and first responders in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Deployment of this water safety equipment occurred at over 50 Great Lakes beaches.

Some of the 2015 Beach Safety Equipment Survey responses included:

  • “Michigan Sea Grant supported the City of Evanston’s, Illinois efforts to save 26 swimmers during the 2015 beach season.”
  • “Life-ring and throw bag were instrumental in saving the life of a 30 year old male. He jumped into Lake Michigan from the big pier in Whiting Park, Illinois. He became distressed and went into an active drowning phase. Had first responders not been armed with the life-ring and throw bag, we more than likely would have had a submerged recovery.”

The survey results showed the ranked importance of different types of water safety equipment with the rescue throw rings and bags being the most important, followed by youth and adult life jackets. There was overwhelming satisfaction with most of the equipment distributed to these high risk coastal communities. The majority of the survey respondents indicated the water safety equipment has made their beaches safer.