Raising awareness to save lives

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Many people picture a fun beach day body surfing in huge waves or even just going for a swim with friends. What many people don’t realize is that even though the big waves can be fun, there are certain precautions you should take while swimming in the lake this summer.

Specifically in the city of Grand Haven many people don’t realize that there are dangerous rip currents by the pier.

“Grand Haven has about 5 rips that seem to reoccur in the same spots,” said Vicki Cech, founder of Beach Survival. “There is one that runs by the pier which is a created by the pier being there. Called a structural current.”

Cech’s son, Andrew Fox, passed away drowning in a rip current in Grand Haven. After the incident, Cech realized the lack of water safety throughout Grand Haven.

“The lack of life rings for the long pier or on the beach,” Cech said. “There was no education or info on Rips any where. I was shocked to find out that is how Andy died. I didn’t know there were rips in the Great Lakes.”

The devastating tragedy has inspired Cech to raise awareness throughout the community. Cech’s other son had came up with the idea of the Beach Survival Challenge. The family wanted to find a fun and engaging way to learn about water safety.

After 13 years of running the event, last year was the final Beach Survival Challenge due to new management and changes against what they were and were not allowed to.

Cech’s loss of her son still has a large impact on her, her family’s life and the city of Grand Haven. She still believes that through raising awareness about rip currents can save many lives.

“You can get out (of a rip current) if you do the right thing. I wish Andy knew what to do.”

For more information, visit Cech’s website www.respectthepower.org


Kelly Klouw

Escaping a rip current:

  1. Don’t go swimming on a red flag day
  2. Never go swimming alone
  3. Rip current areas are usually discolored and has a choppy foamy surface. Stay away from these areas!
  4. Don’t swim to the shore when caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore.
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Raising awareness to save lives