Due to the increase in drownings and water rescues in Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes, the Duluth Fire Department is hosting a free Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s 'Water Safety Surf Rescue' class tomorrow July 21st starting at 9:30am at the Park Point Beach House.

Since July 1 there have been five rip current rescues from beaches on Park Point. All of these incidents occurred on days when Red Flag Conditions were present and the beaches were closed to swimming.

According to Charlie Smith, Training Chief for the DFD,  “The class teaches the general public and first responders how to recognize swimmers in trouble and tactics to successfully rescue them.”

“We urge everyone to take the time to learn about the Great Lakes, their hazards and how to react to them, especially rip currents. Swim only at beaches which are designated for swimming and are protected by on-duty life guards.”

This class comes as the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports 49 Great Lakes drownings to date in 2012.