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Kenosha residents seek more precautions after 5-year-old boy pulled from water

Pennoyer Park is one of the beaches not staffed with lifeguards
Kenosha Water Safety
Posted at 11:51 AM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 15:14:21-04

KENOSHA — Signs both big and small line the area near where a 5-year-old boy was pulled from the waters of Lake Michigan, warning of the dangers of swimming against the swift currents.

“You see so many parents down there with their kids and it, you know, seems shallow, but the current that comes out of Pike Creek can be very, very swift,” said Kenosha resident Dawn Hudson.

Pennoyer Park in Kenosha is one of the beaches that isn’t staffed with a lifeguard, which makes some residents feel uneasy.

“I think they just get so caught up in the beauty and the scenery and having fun that they just forget how dangerous the water can be,” said Hudson. “I think a lot of it might be just lack of knowledge because, you know, a lot of our beaches don't have lifeguards anymore, so people don't quite come as prepared as they used to.”

According to data from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, 23 drownings have happened in Lake Michigan so far this year, with 6 in Wisconsin alone.

Executive Director Bobby Pratt says a way to fight that is water safety education.

“People think that drowning is just kind of a one-off as people who are weak or parents who are inattentive and it's all of those things, but it's really a systemic problem,” said Pratt. “They all know how to stop, drop and roll. They all know how to dial 911, and very few of them have a strategy if they get in trouble in the water.”

Pratt calls drowning a complex issue that needs a dynamic, multifaceted solution and his hope is that increased education can help achieve that.

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