Chicago officials urge beach safety ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Chicago beaches open on Friday, according to the city

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Chicago officials urge beach safety ahead of Memorial Day weekend
Chicago officials are uring beach safety ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As the city prepares to open Chicago beaches, multiple agencies are preparing for water-related emergencies.

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The Chicago Fire Department did a water rescue drill at Navy Pier Tuesday morning.

Divers went into the water off of a helicopter to show what it would look like to rescue someone from the lake.

Marine public safety officials reminded people to follow boating and beach rules, as Chicago beaches open for the summer on Friday, May 24 at 11 a.m.

Chicago Fire officials dove off of a helicopter into the lake in a water rescue demonstration at Navy Pier on Tuesday. | FULL VIDEO

The park district urged people to look for "no swimming allowed" signs and only swim when a lifeguard is on duty.

Lifeguards will be on-duty starting Friday, and, unlike other years, there are enough to staff beaches and pools. They're also still hiring.

"We want to open every pool, so we are making sure that all of our pools are operational, and that they're staffed safely," said Sam Jordan, with the Chicago Park District.

The coast guard reminded people to wear life jackets properly and asked boaters to be mindful of break wall locations at all times.

The Chicago Fire Department asked people not to swim alone or at night and to report emergencies early.

Swimmers also should not enter the water when red flags are in place.

The coast guard reminded all that they will enforce the federal law that prohibits boating under the influence.

Marine officials encourage everyone to take a CPR class.

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The city also asked people to be aware of their surroundings along the lakefront. If anyone see suspicious activities, they are asked to report it right away.

Although beaches weren't technically open Tuesday, some came out and enjoyed the day, as they have for several weeks now.

Lifeguards or not, people still got into the water at 31st Street Beach, including several young children. Others reluctant to get into the 55-degree water chose to watch from afar.

"I was watching some people go out there, looks kind of cold, so, gotta warm up a little bit. I'll get into the water when it gets into the 90s," beachgoer Robert Presley Jr. said.

Beach safety for children was top of mind on Tuesday for the folks at the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, who spent the day lecturing at several schools along the northern Indiana coastline.

"We're delivering age-appropriate materials to the kids, so we're not scaring the kids. But, we also want them to think critically about, can they really swim? What's their swimming ability? Can they float? What does drowning look like?" said Dave Benjamin, with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

Once open, lifeguard hours at Chicago beaches will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Labor Day.

To learn more about beach rules, click here.