34 people drowned in Great Lakes this year, officials say

16 drownings reported in Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan

Officials say 34 people drowned in the Great Lakes this year as of the Fourth of July.

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, 34 drownings were reported on the Great Lakes to date (July 4) -- a 36% increase from last year when 25 people drowned in the Great Lakes.

Officials said 16 people drowned in Lake Michigan in 2021 and six people drowned in each of Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. No drownings were reported in Lake Superior, according to the GLSRP.

Authorities said there are two additional possible drowning cases in both Lake Michigan and Lake Erie that could increase the total from 34.

The National Weather Service said dangerous surf conditions are expected again Monday afternoon and evening on Lake Michigan. Waves could build up to 3-6 feet in some areas.

The highest waves are expected to be between St. Joseph and Holland, according to officials.

Twelve people drowned in Lake Michigan in 2020, seven people drowned in Lake Ere, five people drowned in Lake Ontario and one person drowned in Lake Superior, the GLSRP reports.

Officials, along with the ZAC Foundation, released an explainer video to help educate people about drowning.

“This educational video is the first of its kind to explain how, where, and why dangerous currents occur on the Great Lakes,” said GLSRP Executive Director Dave Benjamin. “It also shows how to utilize the ‘flip, float and follow’ drowning survival strategy in each dangerous current.

“Drowning is a traumatic event, and panic is the first stage of drowning.”

Benjamin said he hopes the video will save lives on the Great Lakes in the future. Click here to watch the video on YouTube.


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.