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TimofBlindSquirrel 02-01-2010 01:12 PM

Chicago Liveaboard

Is anyone currently living aboard in Chicago? I know that you are allowed to live aboard during the summer months. Westec confirmed this for me. I am most concerned about the winter. I know in years past that you could rent a slip at Marina City on the south branch of the Chicago River, just below Van Buren. The river never freezes there. I am trying to find out who to talk to there, what the facilities are available during the winter, etc.

I would love to hear from anyone with some local knowledge.


sailortjk1 02-01-2010 01:22 PM

Can't help with marina city, but I know that Hammond Marina has in water winter storage and allows liveaboards. They use a bubbler system.
Hammond Marina - Slip Rates

TimofBlindSquirrel 02-01-2010 01:33 PM


Originally Posted by sailortjk1 (Post 565950)
Can't help with marina city, but I know that Hammond Marina has in water winter storage and allows liveaboards. They use a bubbler system.
Hammond Marina - Slip Rates

Thanks for the tip on Hammond. Do you know how much snow they get there? I would think that they get quite a bit of lake effect.

sailortjk1 02-01-2010 01:56 PM

Hammond I would guess gets about the same as Chicago. They are not far enough East to get the Lake effect. Most of that occurs over by Michigan City and Porter County. (I live in Chesterton in Porter County and yes, we get our share.)
Hammond is only about 20 minutes from the loop in light traffic. Head down the Dirty Dan Ryan to the Skyway and over the Skyway Bridge and you are there. It is not far from downtown at all.

xort 02-01-2010 05:14 PM

thinking of moving the boat there for winter? Better than sleeping in the dog house! Great for visits from that mercedes driving madman!

TimofBlindSquirrel 02-02-2010 10:12 AM

I would probably take the South Shore train to Chicago from Hammond so I don't have to deal with the traffic. Hammond would be a great second choice, but it is bit too far out of the city.

I am very interested in the south branch of the river and a spot at River City for several reasons. The water in that part of the river is warmer than the lake(the ice starts to melt at Jackson street). I work at Adams and Canal so it is close to my work and gym. Lastly, living in the heart of the city would allow me to get rid of my car.

Once I get this all figured out I am going to put up a website so others can join in the fun!!

Altick 03-29-2010 07:27 PM

I am writing an article for Lakeland Boating magazine on Liveaboards in the Great Lakes, particularly Chicago. Would you like to share what you've found out so far?

TimofBlindSquirrel 03-30-2010 08:31 AM


Here is what I know so far. You can find Chicago Harbor fees for all the marinas a Chicago Harbors - Westrec Marinas. It lists fees like additional parking cards, later leaver permits, etc. If you are a liveaboard you are not considered a Chicago resident so you pay a non-resident surchare of 25%. The season runs from May 1 to October 31, with late leavers allowed to stay until November 15th at Belmonth, Diversey and Burnham.

Additionally, you cannot have your head connected to a Y-Valve even if you locked in the closed position. I have never heard of anyone being inspected for this, though. There also can be electrical usage charges based on your boat and if you are running AC or a refrigerator, but that seems to be on a case by case basis.

Additional information can be obtained from Westrec Marina Management by calling 312-742-8520.

I don't have the phone number for River City with me today. I am told that the slips are privately owned so you need to contract with a slip owner for the winter. I am not sure what services they provide in the winter. There is usually plenty of parking around. There is also a Bally's health club in the condos there so membership would be great for showering and staying in shape.

Please let me know when the article comes out. I would love to see what you dig up through your investigations.



rebourn 05-20-2010 02:31 PM

iam am new to this site but i do know chicago because i lived in the subberbs for 45 years, what i do know is chicogo is dam cold in the winter, and the dockage at river city is exspensive, haomond marina is what i would think your best bet. i have sailed out of monroe harbor for many years and enjoy the location my family has a boat ther and iam in upper mich and planning to sail down in 2 wks. i have also docked in hammond years ago 10 and i belive they have had a lot of changes. my advice wich i am taking is head south for the winter and keep sailing, googd luck at whatever you decide. rebourn.

TimofBlindSquirrel 05-20-2010 02:55 PM


Thanks for the feedback. River City is privately owned now so you can't rent there in the summer. In the winter, when most people pull their boats, a slip there is pretty reasonable. You just need to connect with one of the slip owners. I want to be in Belmont or Diversey in the summer months. Due to the draw bridge situation, keeping a sailboat on the river in the summer is not possible.

As far as the cold, I am am from northern Minnesota, so Chicago isn't that cold. It's all relative I guess. The river is warm south of Jackson and never gets ice. There is some kind of plant there that dumps warm water into the river. In the winter I can actually see the ice start to melt at Adams St. from my office window. With the proper insulation and heat set up, I am sure I could be comfortable. Besides, It is really only cold here from mid December to the end of March.

I plan to take the stick down in he fall so I can get off the river at my convenience. Getting early arrival and late leaver permits from the city should make the transition back and forth to the lake a snap.

Have a good trip down.

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