Kayakers aim for safer paddling on congested Chicago River

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The Chicago River is getting crowded and some say it's making it tougher to navigate. (WLS)

The Chicago River is getting crowded and some say it's making it tougher to navigate.

Chicago's First Lady Cruises and Mercury and Chicago's Skyline Cruise line captains and deckhands got a kayaker's point of view Wednesday morning with the help of guides from Urban Kayaks.

The instruction was part of the companies' routine safety training.

"The boats look a lot bigger than what they are used to. So getting that insight kind of helps us, understand what they're kind of thinking and going through, kind of helps us when we need to maneuver around them," said Gabriel Argumedo with Chicago's First Lady and Mercury Cruises.

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With increasing activity on the river, cruise companies are training their crew members how to share the crowded waterway.



With increasing activity on the river, cruise companies are training their crew members how to share the crowded waterway.

"Being 15 feet in the air versus being at the water level, you have a different perspective," said Argumedo.

Safety is a growing concern.

Last month a Shoreline sightseeing tour boat threw out a life preserver to rescue a kayaker. It was one of several rescues they conducted in a week's time.

Cylas Conway, a tour guide with Urban Kayaks, says he's seeing more private boats on the river.

"It makes it really hard for us. We have a great relationship with the tour boats. We all communicate and talk to each other to make sure we are not getting in each other's way," Conway said.

The goal is for everyone to enjoy the river and stay safe.

"I have been doing this 15 years. There is definitely a lot more people on the water. There is plenty of room for everybody," said Argumedo.
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boating safetyboatschicago riversafetyboatingLoopChicago
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