Chicago’s nearly two dozen beaches officially open for the 2023 season at 11 a.m. Friday, but not without a few changes.
“We are excited to welcome Chicagoans and tourists alike to Chicago’s 26 miles of pristine shoreline, a backdrop for Chicago summer fun and home to 22 beautiful lakefront beaches,” said the General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, Rosa Escareño, in a press release.
According to the park district, the 2023 beach season runs through Labor Day, which this year falls on Monday, September 4. And while admission to Chicago’s 22 beaches is free, swimming is only permitted at certain times.
“During the beach season, swimming is permitted in designated swimming areas on the beaches when lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily,” the Chicago Park District says. “Swimming anywhere else along the lake shore is strictly prohibited and dangerous,” the park district says.
In addition, some additional security measures are being implemented for the 2023 season.
Here’s a breakdown of what to know if you’re planning to go.
“The safety of Chicago residents, visitors and our park staff is our number one priority,” Escareño said. experiences this summer.
According to the Park District, more than 30 new “Beach Safety Ambassadors” will “help manage and ensure patron safety and supervision at the Park District’s busiest beaches.” Officials say the duties of the new role include enforcing beach rules, assisting in emergency situations and more.
Also, in a public safety announcement Thursday, Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Police Department said beachgoers can expect to see more patrol cars nearby, as well as baggage checks.
“We are going to need everyone, not just the police, not just the city government, to ensure that our communities can live and thrive in peace and safety,” Johnson said at 63rd Street Beach, while surrounded by department heads. .
“Regardless of how you decide to spend your Chicago holiday weekend, your safety is my top priority,” he said.
According to the park district, swimming conditions are updated daily around 11 a.m. “depending on weather and surf conditions, and around 1:30 p.m. depending on water quality conditions.”
Acting Superintendent of the Chicago Police. Fred Waller said Thursday that his department has a “comprehensive security plan” for the weekend that includes posting more officers on public transportation and in commercial areas, as well as conducting baggage checks at beaches and Millennium Park.
flag alert system
Chicago beaches adhere to a flag warning system to determine if it is safe to swim at each beach:
- Green – Swimming is allowed. The weather conditions are good and the water quality is good.
- Yellow – Swimming is allowed, but caution is advised. Weather conditions are unpredictable or bacteria levels are higher than the water quality criteria set by the EPA to notify the public.
- Red – Swimming is not allowed. Weather conditions are dangerous or water quality conditions are dangerous.
You can check the daily status of each beach here, or by calling (312) 74-PLAYA. Condition signs are also posted on each beach.
Chicago beaches will remain open through Labor Day weekend.
What is the safe temperature of the water for swimming?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, immersion in cold water can create a condition called “immersion hypothermia,” which can move heat away from the body up to 25 times faster than the air.
Hypothermia can occur at some level in any water that is below 70 degrees, according to NIOSH.
According to the National Weather Service, “55 degree water may not seem very cold, but it can be deadly. Submersion in cold water at any temperature becomes dangerous if you are not prepared for what sudden exposure can do to your body.” and brain”. .”
The National Centers for Environmental Information and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that “70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit is the range in which most people are ‘comfortable’ swimming.”
How to Check the Current Water Temperature in Lake Michigan
While it may be hot outside, the water may still be cold. Here’s how to check the current temperature and water conditions in Lake Michigan.
In accordance with the Chicago Park District, bathers are asked to observe the following guidelines:
- Obey lifeguards and swim only when lifeguards are present.
- No glass, alcohol or smoking on the beach.
- Permits are required for gatherings of 50 or more, use of amplified sound, and concessions/vendors. More information on permits is available at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/permits-rentals.
- Properly dispose of food, diapers, and other waste. Do not feed the birds.
- Dogs are only allowed in designated dog areas.
- Please put swim diapers on young children.
- Grilling is only permitted in designated areas and coals must be disposed of in the red-hot metal bins. For more information, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/grilling.
- Keep accessible walkways on the beach clear. Bicycling, skateboarding, or skating is not permitted in these areas.
- Access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail for sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and other non-motorized boarding or paddle sports is permitted at 12th Street Beach. For more information, go to the rules page and download information on Lake Michigan Water Trails.
- Kitesurfing is not allowed on 12th Street Beach; Kitesurfing is ONLY allowed on Montrose Beach.
- Only Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) are allowed. Children wearing PFDs must have an adult with them in the water.
- Swimming is allowed and there are lifeguards on duty at all beaches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.Unless Otherwise Posted.
You can find a full list of Chicago beaches here.