Wateriders 2020 Message
In the mid 90s, after about a decade in Chicago commercial real estate, I bought a folding kayak and began paddling and sailing around the world and in Chicago. A few years later, I started Wateriders ™ to offer fun in human powered boats via kayak tours on the Chicago River.
As we look forward excitedly to our 24th season, the motivation that has guided the company, to provide a safe and fun adventure—Good Green Fun ™ — has not changed. But, to continue to provide a quality experience and comply with safety in 2020 has necessitated a few modifications.
First, Wateriders 2020 is a 100% outdoor experience, both downtown at Eastbank Club (as always open to the public!) and at our spectacular new dock at 3057 North Rockwell on the River. However, this year we will not be able to accommodate groups of more than 10 and we will seek to make any Wateriders experience, including payment and waiver, pre-finalized before arrival.
That way, we can still offer you Good Green Fun with minimal waiting. We will provide ample distance so that groups can maintain safe distances from one another, will sanitize all equipment regularly and follow Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois guidelines for Boat Rentals and Outdoor Recreation (see below for complete details).
With Rockwell, our offerings will actually expand dramatically in 2020. At this peaceful outpost, we can take groups with higher proportions of kids and the views of turtles, herons and the occasional muskrat are incredible. Downtown, we will still offer narrated tours, guided paddles and rentals. And, hearty urban adventurers will now be able to rent a kayak at one location and journey to the other.
When I first attempted, in 1997, to lead a kayak tour downtown, I made the grave error of taking out an already-in-progress bachelor party. That first tour was very nearly the last. Since, we have had an uncompromising focus on both safety and fun, which must always work together. So, if you are an experienced kayaker and wish to launch yourself this year, that will be your option.
We appreciate the clarity of the Restore Illinois guidelines and also understand that this is an ever evolving and highly challenging situation but we are committed to helping our community of human powered craft fun seekers enjoy the beauty and majesty of the mighty Chicago River in 2020.
– Charlie Portis
Specific Policies for 2020 Based on Governor Pritzker’s Guidelines for Boat Rentals and Outdoor Recreation:
- Only groups of <10 people will be permitted for all Wateriders programs
- Face coverings are to be worn prior to launching a boat
- Wateriders will thoroughly sanitize all rental equipment and “touch points” including paddles, lifejackets and boats before and after each use.
- Social distancing of at least six feet shall be maintained between all groups at all times on and off the water
- Employee count will be kept to a minimum and employees will frequently wash or sanitize their hands.
- Wateriders will monitor temperature and pulse oximeter readings of employees daily and will isolate any employee suspected of having Covid-19 for at least ten days.
- Wateriders may monitor the temperature and pulse oximeter readings of customers
- Wateriders will display signage describing face covering requirements, social distancing guidelines and cleaning protocols.
Notes for Pandemic
Due to the 2020 pandemic, Wateriders will ask all customers at both locations to wear masks while checking in. No groups of more than 10 will be allowed. Wateriders will work to disinfect all lifejackets, paddles and boats continuously and reserves the right to take guests temperatures. Additionally, to minimize risk to guests and employees, Wateriders asks that prior to the Chicago region reaching Governor Pritzker’s “Phase 4” designation that all rentals and tours be pre-booked and prepaid prior to arrival. Please arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to your designated time.