Lake Michigan Drownings Increase In 2021, Except at Sleeping Bear Dunes

2020 was a deadly year in Lake Michigan with 56 drownings. Officials warn 2021 is already seeing an increase of 25% in July, compared to last year.

Twenty-three drownings have been reported in Lake Michigan so far this year, according to the Great Lakes Surf Project (GLSRP), a non-profit.

“The Great Lakes are dangerous,” says Mike Kohl, General Ranger for Sleeping Bear Dunes. “Nearly half of Great Lakes drownings are in Lake Michigan.”

Sleeping Bear Dunes, along Lake Michigan’s shores, says they have been fortunate this year having had no drownings occur as of yet.

Over the weekend, they had their first water rescue of the year.

Last Saturday, they hosted their first Preventative Search and Rescue Water Safety Day. The public was able to learn helpful information about how to prevent drownings and maintaining safety on the water.

Kohl says this type of community outreach can make a difference.

“A lot of it’s preventable just by wearing a PFD, or know what way the wind is blowing, or even making sure you are keeping track of your kids when you’re out at the beach,” he says.

Sleeping Bear Dunes’ PSAR hopes to host annual events like Water Safety Day in the future.

Both the national park’s PSAR and GLSRP have helpful information to keep people safe while enjoying the Great Lakes.