In the last few years, deaths in the Great Lakes as a result of dangerous nearshore currents (longshore currents, rip currents and structurally induced currents) have increased at an alarming rate, averaging 11 fatalities and 25 rescues per year. Warmer temperatures, increased water levels and storm intensity, and more people at the beach have all contributed to this threat. Mr. Jamie Racklyeft has experienced a near fatal encounter with a Great Lakes rip current and will describe his personal experience and resulting motivation.
On Monday, October 3rd at 5 PM, Racklyeft will talk about his experience and effort to help others avoid the dangers associated with nearshore currents. His talk, What it’s like to drown: Surviving a Great Lakes rip current, will be held in the East Reading room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.
Racklyeft is a Lake Michigan rip current survivor. Exhausted and hopelessly battling the relentless current and waves off Van’s Beach in Leland, Michigan in 2012, he knows he’s lucky to be alive. Since then, he has dedicated himself to helping people avoid, escape, and save others from dangerous currents by applying human-centered design thinking principles and communication strategies.
Currently a Communication Director at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), Racklyeft has been in the communication profession for more than 30 years, serving research, corporate, healthcare, non-profit, academic, and entrepreneurial fields. He now leads the new Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, with members representing all eight Great Lake states and Ontario, working together to end drowning. Racklyeft earned a Master’s in Education from Wayne State University and a Bachelor’s in General Studies from the University of Michigan, focusing on communication, psychology, and art history.
Rachlyeft’s visit and talk is hosted by the SENSE Enterprise, the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, and the Great lakes Research Center.