Health and Fitness

Chicago Park District beaches to open for season Friday, but swimming won’t be safe for first day

CHICAGO (CBS) — The city’s 22 beaches will officially open Friday for the 2022 season.

This year’s beach season runs through Monday, Sept. 5.

“We’re excited to welcome everyone back to Chicago’s lakefront beaches, a backdrop to many summer experiences in Chicago,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer Rosa Escareño said in a news release. “We encourage all beach goers to prepare for their visit by learning basic water safety skills to respond accordingly in case of an emergency, and urge them to obey the flag system and only enter the water when lifeguards are present.”

However, the beaches may not be especially appealing on Friday, particularly given that the daytime high is only 62. And swimming will not be an option at all.

The city has issued a beach hazards statement beginning late Thursday night and going through Friday at 10 p.m. – which means Lake Michigan will not be safe for swimming.

High wave action and dangerous currents are expected at Lake Michigan beaches through Cook County and north to Lake County. The city warns that waves will be up to 7 feet or even higher are expected, and swimming conditions could be life-threatening – especially for inexperienced swimmers.

The city warns people should remain out of the water, avoid dangerous swimming conditions, and refrain from venturing out onto piers, jetties, or breakwalls.

Meanwhile, the Park District reminds everyone to follow beach rules:

• Swimming is only allowed when lifeguards are present, and lifeguards must be obeyed.

• Glass, alcohol, and smoking are not permitted on the beach.

• All refuse must be properly disposed of, and birds may not be fed.

• Dogs are only allowed in designated areas.

• Small children must wear swim diapers.

• Grilling is only allowed in designated areas, and coals must be disposed of in red hot metal containers.

• Accessible beach walks must be kept clear. Bicycling, skateboarding, and rollerblading are not allowed;

• Access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail for kayaking, canoeing, and other non-motorized board and paddle sports is allowed at the 12th Street Beach at the end of Roosevelt Road.

• Kiteboarding is allowed at Montrose Beach, and only Montrose Beach.

• Only Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices are allowed. Any child with a personal flotation device must be with an adult.

• Swimming is allowed when lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., unless posted otherwise.

The Chicago Park District will also continue to use its flag notification system and web page to display swim status, water quality, and other information at the 22 lakefront beaches and Humboldt Park Beach.

The flag notification system informs patrons of the status of the beaches:

• Green: Swimming is permitted, weather conditions are fair, and water quality is good.

• Yellow: Swimming is permitted, but with caution. Weather conditions are unpredictable, or bacteria levels are higher than the water quality criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency for notifying the public.

• Red: No swimming allowed. Weather or water quality conditions are dangerous.

For more information, follow this link, or call the Chicago Park District Beach Hotline at (312) 74-BEACH.

Meanwhile, Park District swimming pools do not open until June 24 – and that is if all goes well. The Chicago Park District reports it needs lifeguards, and hopes a retention bonus will secure enough lifeguards for the pools to open on time. More on the retention bonus is available here.

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