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Chicago Park District Ready For Start Of Beach Season This Weekend

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Friday marks the official start of the beach season in Chicago.

All Chicago Park District beaches will be staffed with lifeguards from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day through Labor Day.

While the air weather might be a little cool for the beach, the water is downright cold. The water temperature at North Avenue Beach was a skin-tingling 51 degrees Thursday morning.

Some people will still swim when it's that cold, however. Chicago Park District beach and pool manager Eric Fischer suggested those who do venture into the water only stay a very short time, as hypothermia is a very real possibility.

The Park District has hired 1,000 lifeguards to keep watch at the beaches and pools this season.

"Juan Regalado, who has spent 21 years as a lifeguard on the city's beaches, said he loves spending every day of the summer at the lake.

"It's short-lived, so we've got to make the best of it," he said.


The district's 49 outdoor pools open in mid-June, and on June 18, the Park District will try to beat its own Guinness World Record for the largest swimming lesson, by hosting lessons at all 73 pools. Last year, more than 32,450 people took part in the event.

One thing beach and pool visitors might notice is the outfits on the lifeguards.

They've been outfitted by Tommy Bahama gear, as part of a marketing partnership. In exchange, the beachwear company gets exposure at the beaches, including signage on lifeguard towers.

"A lot of technology has moved its way into beachwear; thermal-regulated to SPF," Tommy Bahama executive vice president Rob Goldberg said.

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