1/9/12 – Eighty-seven people drowned last year in the Great Lakes, up from 74 in 2010. Wisconsin had five of those drownings. Illinois had 13 in the Chicago area, and Michigan had the most with 18. Lake Michigan had just over half of all Great Lakes drownings last year with 44. Bob Pratt of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project calls the numbers “tragic.” He tells the Muskegon Chronicle in Michigan that his group tries to teach people about the dangers of the Great Lakes, and how to use things like surfboards to save people’s lives. Pratt says his group will work hard this year to reduce the numbers of Great Lakes drownings. Fifteen of last year’s incidents were blamed on rip-currents. Other causes involved boating, jumping from piers, walking on thin ice, and trying to escape from the police.