Open Water Chicago Participant Agreement, Release, and Assumption of Risk
(Please note - you only need to sign this one time to participate in all future OWC events)
I want to swim in Lake Michigan with Open Water Chicago (OWC). I would like to do so through the formally and informally organized swim meetups and swim instruction activities arranged and conducted by Steve Hernan.
I understand that OWC is an activity limited to adults only (18 years of age or older), and I acknowledge that I am of legal age to participate. As a legal adult, I accept full responsibility for my choices, my behavior, and the consequences of my actions while I am participating in any OWC event. I understand that there are no lifeguards, nobody on rescue crafts, and no safety features at all during any OWC events. I understand that the water is deep, and that I will not be able to touch the bottom. I understand that there may be other swimmers who will be swimming, and that those other swimmers could present a danger to me. In spite of all of this and in spite of any other danger imaginable, I want to swim in Lake Michigan with Steve Hernan and OWC.
In order to let me swim in the lake with OWC, Steve Hernan has asked me to sign this participant agreement, release, and assumption of risk document. By signing this agreement, and in fact prior to ever signing this agreement, I am acknowledging that I understand that I am voluntarily assuming all risks associated with swimming in Lake Michigan.
In consideration of being allowed to participate in any formal and informal OWC events held in Lake Michigan, I hereby agree to release, indemnify, and discharge Steve Hernan a/k/a Stephen Hernan, his spouse, his parents, his relatives, his heirs, his assigns, his personal representatives, and his estate as follows:
- I acknowledge that my participation in swimming in Lake Michigan entails known and unanticipated risks that could result in physical or emotional injury, paralysis, death, or damage to myself, to property, or to third parties. I understand that such risks simply cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity. The risks include, among other things:
- Drowning, near-drowning, or injury due to any of the following:
- Muscle cramps, fatigue, or exhaustion
- Dangerous or overwhelming wave and surf conditions, including rogue waves and rip currents
- Adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind, and lightning
- Adverse visibility and disorientation issues involving fog or darkness
- Being trampled, struck, or pushed underwater by other swimmers
- Panic episodes experienced by me
- Panic episodes experienced by others
- Injury, illness, or death caused by any of the following:
- Air and water temperature conditions leading to hypothermia or hyperthermia
- Natural or manmade lake contaminants
- Negligence of some other OWC participant
- Animal attack (domestic or wild) in or around the lake
- Collision with a boater or some other form of personal watercraft
- Collision with a floating or fixed object in the lake
- Unknown medical problems manifesting themselves during or after the swim
- Economic loss caused by any of the following:
- Legal or medical expenses resulting from any of the above-cited circumstances
- Theft of or damage to personal property while at an OWC event or while in transit to and from an OWC event
- Criminal violations while at an OWC event or while in transit to and from an OWC event
- Cancellation of any OWC event - particularly paid training events
- I also understand that Steve Hernan himself or anyone acting on his behalf could themselves be negligent and cause me injury, loss, or death.
- I expressly agree and promise to accept and assume all of the risks existing in this activity. My participation in this activity is purely voluntary, and I elect to participate in spite of the aforementioned risks.
- I hereby voluntarily release, forever discharge, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Steve Hernan and the above cited parties from any and all claims, demands, or causes of action which are in any way connected with my participation in this activity or my use of Lake Michigan, including any such claims which allege negligent acts or omissions on the part of Steve Hernan or anyone acting on his behalf.
- Should Steve Hernan or anyone acting on his behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, I agree to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs.
- I certify that I have adequate insurance to cover any injury or damage I may cause or suffer while participating in any OWC event, or else I agree to bear the costs of such injury or damage myself. I further certify that I am willing to assume the risk of any medical or physical condition - known or unknown - that I may have.
- In the event that I or anyone on my behalf or my estate files a legal action or lawsuit against Steve Hernan or any of the above cited parties, I agree to do so solely in the state of Illinois, and I further agree that the substantive law of that state shall apply in that action without regard to the conflict of law rules of that state. I agree that if any portion of this agreement is found to be void or unenforceable, the remaining document shall remain in full force and effect.
By signing this document, I acknowledge that if anyone is hurt or if property is damaged during my participation in any OWC activity, I may be found by a court of law to have waived my right to maintain a legal action or lawsuit against Steve Hernan and any of the above cited parties on the basis of any claim from which I have released them herein.
I have had sufficient opportunity to read this entire document. I have read and understood it. And I agree to be bound by its terms.