Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Rip Current Awareness Week

Rip currents are strong, powerful and narrow currents that move away from shore. Reaching speeds of 8 feet per second, they have killed more people than sharks.

This week is Rip Current Awareness Week, June 1-7. According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there have been 434 current-related incidents on the Great Lakes since 2002, with 321 occurring in Lake Michigan. Sadly, of those incidents, the Great Lakes average around 12 drowning fatalities each year.

The most common locations for rip currents to occur are in Holland, Ludington and Warren Dunes, Michigan.

A team of researchers from Michigan Technological University, University of Michigan, Michigan Sea Grant and National Weather Service conducted a research project to help predict warning signs of rip currents. The result: The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), which is now being used to help approximate and forecast rip current location.

The Great Lakes Current Incident Database, a collaboration between the National Weather Service and Michigan Sea Grant, also is helping to alert the public of potentially hazardous swimming locations, and it has been in the works for more than 10 years.

In an attempt to help combat current-related incidents, Michigan Sea Grant has installed beach safety kits at 10 Lake Michigan beaches, including Holland State Park.

For more information, visit miseagrant.umich.edu/dc.

Photo Courtesy Michigan Sea Grant

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