Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Lake Michigan Rescue Equipment Act into law on June 9, following a series of drownings in Lake Michigan.
The act requires private and government-owned piers and drop-off points to have public rescue equipment like flotation devices — including at Promontory Point — and local governments have to post warnings in high-incident areas and standardize reporting of drownings to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The bill was introduced by North Side Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-14th) and advocated for by Sen. Robert Peters (D-13th) in the General Assembly's upper chamber.
“We have had too many tragic and, in many cases, preventable deaths on Lake Michigan,” Peters said in a statement. “Simple rescue equipment like lifesavers are an effective way to help people get to safety in case they fall or find themselves struggling in the water.”
Fifty-six people drowned in Lake Michigan in 2020, including one man off Promontory Point in July that year. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a water safety advocacy group, says Lake Michigan has the highest rate of drownings of all the great lakes. They often happen quickly and without much noise. Public safety officials recommend using wearable flotation devices, closely monitoring children at play and assessing weather conditions carefully before swimming