CHICAGO (CBS) — The National Weather Service and the U.S. Coast Guard are warning people to stay out of the water at Chicago’s beaches, due to waves up to six feet high.
A beach hazards statement is in effect through 10 p.m. Monday, because of dangerous swimming conditions; waves of three to six feet, and strong rip currents and structural currents along the lakefront.
The Chicago Park District has banned swimming at all of the city’s beaches due to the rough surf. Surfers and kite surfers also are being warned not to test the waves.
The National Weather Service also has issued a small craft advisory, meaning small boats and inexperienced sailors should avoid going out on the water.
“Boaters should avoid navigating in these conditions and should remain off of the Lake, unless absolutely necessary. Boaters and owners of personal watercrafts, such as jet skis, should seriously consider waiting for the wind and waves to subside before getting underway,” the Coast Guard warned on Monday. “Anyone who absolutely needs to get underway should know the capabilities of their vessel, make sure you have emergency equipment that is in working condition, wear life jackets at all times and have a way to call for help, preferably a marine radio.”
The crashing waves on Lake Michigan have even closed part of the Lakefront Trail near North Avenue Beach.
“Never underestimate the power of Lake Michigan and never engage in taking “selfies” near the water. Taking unnecessary and irresponsible risks not only puts your life in danger, but also puts others, including first responders, in danger,” the Coast Guard said.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project said 36 people have drowned on Lake Michigan so far this year.
On Sunday, 26-year-old William Garcia-Ruiz died after being pulled from the lake near Fullerton. Police said he and a 35-year-old man had jumped in the lake, and had to be rescued. Garcia-Ruiz died at the hospital, but the other man was rescued safely.
Another man on a jet ski also went under in Waukegan, and 14 people – including children – had to be rescued after their boat capsized Sunday morning. The man on the jet ski required CPR, and went to the hospital. The 14 people on the boat were not injured.
People with pets also are being asked to keep them on a leash and away from jogging paths and piers along the lakefront.