Park District votes to keep "sail at your own risk" policy

Monday, November 21 the Park District "Parks and Rec Committee" voted to keep the "Sail at Your Own Risk Policy".

The underlying discussion was whether or not the Park District should change the policy and close the sailing beach on "Red Flag" days.

About 20 sailors showed up, about 10 spoke giving reasons/recommendations to keep the policy as-is. No sailors spoke in favor of changing the policy. One "local politician" spoke out saying the park district does have some responsibility to close. One committee member strongly disagreed with this "politician", stating 'if a sailor wants to challenge themselves and understands the risk (and policy), then who are we to stop them'. Ahem brother, well said!

There will be a change to the wording in the beach contracts surrounding the rescue boat and when/how/why beach staff are inclined to provide assistance to sailors. This is yet to be finalized, but expect the word "rescue" to be eliminated.

I actually think this is a good thing. In years long past, the staff was sailors, lawyers didn't prowl looking for a cheap buck, and everyone understood sailing has inherent dangers that go along with the fun.

Some things every skipper/crew should understand:
1) You are your best/first rescue. Wear proper clothing, carry proper equipment, understand how to use it, what to do.
2) If you can't right your boat or your friends aren't there to help you, you have no business sailing. Capsizing is part of dinghy sailing.
3) If you call the coasties (you need a waterproof VHF to do this), they rescue people, not boats.
4) If you are on the edge about going out or not, don't go. This is always a tough one. Usually the reason I won't go (other than it's simply too big) is lone crew is too junior. By adding an additional seasoned crew, I feel better the junior crew learns and we have fun. Sometimes you have to call and wait for someone or just not go. 3-up on a big day is actually more fun. Just don't all sit on the wing of your Hobie-18 at the same time.

I'm sure there are 10 other things we can add to this list

Roni Crystal
9:51 PM (1 hour ago)

to bcc: me
Dear sailor,

Just finished watching the Wilmette park district board meeting.
Here is what they said word for word:

"Regardless of conditions, we will not place any restrictions on the
sailors, who are leasing space at the Wilmette park district beach,
from sailing.
However, we will cease to call our boater's assistance a operation
and reserve our aquatic boats for lessons, camp and rental fleet
assistance.
The US Coast Guard will be the first responder should a boater off
shore be in distress, which is in line with how other lake front
sailing beaches operate."