Successful Beach Ambassador Program Returns in 2022 to Educate and to Help Prevent Lakefront Drownings
In 2021 five organizations came together to address four individuals who tragically lost their lives by drowning at Milwaukee’s McKinley and Bradford Beaches. A pilot Milwaukee Beach Ambassador program was created in 2021 to help effect change and educate beach goers about water quality, the flag warning system, dangerous wave action and rip currents. Due in part to this innovative program, no lives were lost during the summer of 2021 through the addition of “Beach Ambassadors” who patrolled the beaches during high traffic time periods. The collaboration of lakefront specialists that were responsible for developing and staffing this unique initiative included the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, Wisconsin Sea Grant, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Milwaukee Water Commons, and Coastline Services.
Fast forward to 2022, these same organizations have come together to build on the success of the pilot program. They are training and funding a new group of “Beach Ambassadors” charged with creating awareness of hazardous conditions and the ever-changing quality of Lake Michigan’s water. “Beach Ambassadors are not lifeguards; they give beach goers important information about the water quality and health of the beach as well as highlight dangerous currents that could create unsafe conditions for swimmers” said Cheryl Nenn of Milwaukee Riverkeeper.
Teresa Coronado, Outreach Director of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center said that, “each organization believes so strongly in the program that funding is being supported by the partners this year, because saving lives doesn’t have a price. We are looking for funding to support the growth and long-term efforts of the program.”
Dr. Deidre Peroff, a social scientist with Wisconsin Sea Grant said, “It is great that so many beach goers have come out to enjoy our Lake Michigan beaches, but many come from different backgrounds and a wide variety of levels of swimming competency. Many are unfamiliar with the consequences of swimming in the lake.”
Look for the Ambassadors pushing their information cart Thursday through Sundays from Noon to 4 pm or from our information center between Bradford and McKinley Beach. For information about our successful launch in 2021 and what we have changed to make the program even more impactful in 2022 contact Don Ellingsen, firstname.lastname@example.org or 414.378.7925 to arrange for an interview with members of our team.