Be Current Smart water safety campaign

Promoting water safety tips to help reduce fatalities, tailored for the Great Lakes region.

Water rescue safety equipment on beach in northern Lake Michigan. Photo credit: Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant)

Water rescue safety equipment on beach in northern Lake Michigan. Photo credit: Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant)

The Great Lakes Sea Grant programs and a network of partners in the Great Lakes region are promoting a new water safety campaign, Be Current Smart. An important part of the campaign is communicating key threats to swimmers, including high waves, structures and dangerous currents, and promoting the use of water safety and emergency rescue equipment.

Key messages include:

  • When the waves are high, stay dry and on the beach.
  • Parents: Take a pledge to be a water watcher and keep a close eye on children while they’re near the water’s edge and in the water.
  • Stay in designated swimming areas and away from structures
  • Ask children to wear life jackets when near the shoreline, and in the water.

The campaign includes water safety resources outlined below. All materials are free and available for media, beach communities, park staff, educators and others.

The Current Smart website includes the following resources:

  • Social media (FaceBook and Twitter postings)
  • Join the conversation on Twitter: #currentsmart
  • Video news release, customizable for broadcast and educational needs, including interviews with experts from the U.S. Coast Guard, county sheriffs, and state park managers
  • Series of six illustrated video animations, with water safety messages
  • Media kit
  • Links to new beach sign templates, publications, curriculum, diagrams and descriptions of the types of dangerous currents

Working groups, led by the Great Lakes Sea Grant programs in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin determined the equipment needs for each state. The following equipment is being deployed throughout the Great Lakes region:

  • Youth (Loaner) Life Jacket – Type II, Near-shore (USCG-approved)
  • Adult (Rescue) Life Vest – Type I, Offshore (USCG-approved)
  • Rescue Throw Ring Buoy – 24 inch, orange, with 75 ft., 3/8 inch rope (USCG-approved)
  • Rescue Tube – 48 inch ExoTube, used by first responders (not rated)
  • Rescue Throw Bag – with 75 feet, 3/8 inch rope, used by first responders (not rated)
  • Rescue Board – with grab handles, used by first responders (not rated)
  • Safety Alert Whistle – High decibel, 3-chamber, used by first responders

The contacts are for each participating state including Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension:

Michigan:

  • Upper Peninsula: Ron Kinnunen, 906-226-3687, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Lower Michigan: Mark Breederland, 231-922-4628, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Statewide: Elizabeth LaPorte, 734-647-6227, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Illinois and Indiana:

  • Leslie Dorworth, 219-989-2726, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Irene Miles, 217-333-8055, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Minnesota:

  • Jesse Schomberg, 218-726-6182, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Sharon Moen, 218-726-6195, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Ohio:

  • Sarah Orlando, 419-609-4120, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Jill Jentes, 614-292-8975, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Wisconsin:

  • Gene Clark, 715-392-3246, GCLARK1@uwsuper.edu
  • Todd Breiby, 608-261-6349, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Moira Harrington, 608-263-5371, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Coastal Storms Program is supporting the Be Current Smart water safety campaign, an effort of the Implementing Dangerous Currents Best Practices project, led by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network. Partners include state Coastal Management Programs, the NOAA National Weather Service and others. 

 

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