CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Chicago boat captains and safety experts have formed a group called “Boat Safe Chicago,” and they’re about to start a series of training sessions with the goal of making this summer safer on Lake Michigan.
This effort was born of frustration, according to Master Captain Jon Meyer.
“At the end of last year, after all these incidents with the amputation, the missing people, a couple of other boat accidents, we actually started losing business,” Meyer said. “People were canceling their charters because they thought it was too dangerous to go boating in Chicago. That’s when a bunch of us professionals got together and just said, ‘Enough is enough.’”
During the summer of 2022, Chicago witnessed at least 43 deaths on Lake Michigan.
Meyer, who’s also a safety consultant, Red Cross instructor, and a pilot, said he “lives and breathes safety.” Along with Meyer, Boat Safe Chicago’s team comprises A Chicago harbormaster with 25 years of experience, a nine-year Navy veteran, water rescue professionals, and many others.
“It’s an organization of professionally licensed master captains, that are kind of fed up and frustrated with all the accidents that we had last year … whether it was in the Playpen, or in Diversey, or just some of the reckless boat operations that we’ve been seeing, this is an effort by the professionals to train everybody,” Meyer said.
In the trainings, Meyer said they’ll focus on fundamentals, as well as some things that are unique to Chicago.
The pandemic increased the number of boat owners. Now, these captains hope to get to some of them.
More information about Boat Safe Chicago, as well as the specific trainings offered, can be found here. Training sessions will begin in the spring.