Chicago beaches open for season Friday

ByMaher Kawash and the ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, May 26, 2023
Chicago beaches open for the summer
Beach season is here! The city's beaches officially opened for the summer Friday morning, and boaters hit the blue Lake Michigan waters too.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- All 22 of Chicago's beaches open for the season Friday.

Thousands are expected to flock to the lakefront this holiday weekend.

Beaches opened at 11 a.m. Friday and will stay open until 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day. Evanston Beaches open Saturday.

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A cooler start to the weekend made for a calmer opening day at the city's beaches, while the harbors are packed with more than 5,000 boats that are ready to set sail

"It feels great. Chicago is kind of a boating mecca," said Jon Meyer, U.S. Coast Guard master captain. "This is their weekend to get out, this is what they've been looking forward to since they put the boat away last fall."

Meyer also works with Boat Safe Chicago, leading training sessions with people ahead of the weekend to create the safest conditions on the water.

Last year there were more than 3,400 calls for service to boats all around the city. Meyer is hoping to bring that number down this summer.

"Take a boat out and practice docking a couple times," Meyer advised. "Practice anchoring when you're away from other boats, that way when you get to the restaurant on the river, the playpen, the harbor, you'll look like a pro."

Summer water safety tips

Meyer also said it's critical to wear a life jacket even if you're just lounging on a boat this weekend.

And while the water will be packed with action, many are just as excited to relax on land. The Chicago Park District said it has addressed the lifeguard shortage from last year, while also planning to add 30 new ambassadors that will help out at five of the city's busiest beaches.

"It adds another layer of safety and then while we have our lifeguards out patrolling the water watching the people that are in and around the water we're gonna have these ambassadors who will also help with first aid, help with other situations happening," said Samuel Jordan, manager of beaches ad pools.

The park district said those ambassadors will start on June 23, the same day the city plans to open its pools.

They said the expectation is to have every city pool open this summer.

For more on Chicago's beaches and swimming conditions, visit the Chicago Park District's website.