Lake Swimming After Labor Day?
With high temperatures often lasting well into october and 33 beautiful beaches stretching from Rogers Park to Calumet Park, wouldn't it be wonderful if Chicagoans were permitted to cool off with a dip in the lake after Labor Day? Certainly! But would doing so break the law? We thought we'd try to find some clarity for the thousands of domu renters searching for apartments along Chicago's 26-mile stretch of Lake Michigan's shore.
It appears the rule on taking a dip in the water after Labor Day is a bit wishy-washy. We called the beach hotline at the Chicago Park District to get the straight dope. The automated beach report informed us that: "Beach season has ended for 2012. You are welcome to enjoy the beaches, but beaches are closed to swimming until Memorial weekend 2013”. So what does this mean? The message didn’t say swimming is illegal, swimming is not permitted, or "swim at your own risk until Memorial weekend 2013." We've read swimmers’ accounts of getting ticketed by the Chicago Police Department for "unauthorized activity in water". Yet one week after Labor Day Chicagoans continue to enjoy the lovely waters of Lake Michigan without a hint of Chicago's finest on the shore ready to ticket them.
Our take on it? If you’re a rule-keeper, stay out of the lake. If you’re a desperate aquaphile and a bit of a rule-bender, swim at your own risk, use common sense, and remember there’s always a chance you’ll see the flashing lights of a Chicago police boat coming to slap you with a ticket!