Great Lakes Surfing Association
Beach & Pier Rescue Project

August 19, 2007 Meeting

The second surf rescue meeting held about noon on August 19, 2007 (Sunday) at Grand Haven south pier was technically more extensive than the first meeting.  Also, our group became larger with the valuable addition of Mike Smith.

Conditions at the south pier had changed since our Aug. 6 meeting.  The water had dropped from the seventies down into the fifties with the east off-shore breeze.   However, there was very little of the forecasted rain to dampen our spirits.  

Once we had all gathered Bob Pratt took us on a shoreline walk south down the beach a few hundred yards to where the infamous North Park Rip had taken so many lives in the past.  He demonstrated the activity of that rip current area, even on virtually calm days, by tossing small pieces of driftwood into the water and letting the current carry them out from shore.  He also showed us on the wash-up area of the shoreline how the retreating water cut channels in the beach much the same as rip currents cut channels in the sand bars.

Our goal on this day was to try and execute a typical rescue of a pier wash-off victim, but a small boat of fisherman occupied our operations area, so we opted for an open-water rip current style rescue instead.  Marty seemed to have the most wetsuit gear on hand, so he became the drowning victim and was transported on Kens wave ski to an area a few hundred feet from shore and about 100 feet south of the pier.

The operation went as follows: 

GLSA Rip Current Rescue Exercise at Grand Haven.   August 19, 2007 

We then decided to hold the pier rescue exercise beyond where the boat of fishermen was out close to the lighthouse where wash-off fatalities have actually occurred.  Marty was given the opportunity to be the rescue victim again and jumped into the water a few feet off the pier.

That operation went as follows:

GLSA Pier Rescue Exercise at Grand Haven.  August 19, 2007

Post-Exercise de-briefing session.

The meeting concluded with the customary de-briefing session on site and later over some good chow at Butches' Beach Burritos!

It was the opinion of all that waves would be necessary for the next meeting's exercises.  The next meeting is scheduled for the week following Labor Day weekend.  An exact time will be decided later, probably based on wave forecasts.  The closer we get towards fall, the more likelihood of waves.

Bob Beaton


Back to Meeting Report Page