Release Date: 
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Narrowly averted tragedy leads to life-saving awareness campaign

Screenshot from the video story: Jamie Racklyeft and warning posters about drowning

Van's Beach in Leland, "up north" in Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula, seemed like a great place for a swim in Lake Michigan on a warm summer day in August 2012.

Jamie Racklyeft's quick swim that day turned into a fight for his life -- a fight he would have lost, had it not been for the kindness of strangers.

600 others have not been so lucky. That's the number of people who have drowned in the Great Lakes since 2010. Racklyeft and others, including his wife, HFC faculty member Susan McGraw, are working to raise awareness of the risks and dangers -- along with the fun and excitement -- of swimming and recreation in Michigan's treasured Great Lakes.

"I would feel sick if I didn't offer to share this story with our HFC campus community, and later discovered that one of our own had a preventable accident in the water," said McGraw.

Learn more about Racklyeft's story, awareness efforts, and what you can do to make sure you don't get caught in rip currents or other water-related dangers.

The story includes a video about how Racklyeft nearly drowned, and details about important safety strategies and resources.

Have fun out there! And be safe.