The Wilmette Harbor Club, located north of Chicago on Lake Michigan, includes a clubhouse with both indoor and outdoor dining, a gas dock, and mooring for several hundred boats. Since 1929 the Wilmette harbor's Sheridan Shore Yacht Club has hosted sailboat fleet racing during the summer months. Wilmette harbor is also home to the Sheridan Shore Sailing School for both adults and children.

Wilmette Harbor Club

Q. When does the harbor open and close ?
A. The harbor opens on Saturday, April 27th and closes on Sunday, October 27th .

Q. How do I get my boat in the water ?
A. Please call Hyde Perce or Jeri Traub to schedule a lift appointment. Lifts are done by appointment only.

Q. What’s in the clubhouse ?
A. The clubhouse has both men’s and women’s locker rooms, bathrooms, lockers, an ice machine, the Buccaneer Bar, and on the upper floor, dining and a comfortable lounge with a wood fireplace. You will also find our harbor offices for both Hyde Perce and Jeri Traub on the lower level of the clubhouse. The clubhouse hosts seasonal parties such as our popular Mother’s Day Brunch. You can also rent the clubhouse for your own private parties at a discounted member’s rate. Call our Clubhouse Manager Jeri Traub to check on available dates and rates.

Q. When is the Buccaneer Bar open ?
A. The Buccaneer Bar will be open every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can pay by simply giving your name to our volunteer member bartender and the charge will be added to your harbor charge account. Your bar bill will be added to your monthly statement.

Q. Can you use the floating docks?
A. Please no chairs or barbecues on the floating docks.

Q. Who do I contact for sailboat racing ?
A. John Kennedy is our commodore.

Q. If I want to rent a sailboat who do I call ?
A. Phil Serwich runs our rental program.

Q. How do I sign up my kids for sailing lessons? Does the harbor offer lessons for adults ?
A. Young children through high school age can learn to sail by contacting our Sheridan Shore Sailing School.
Adult sailing lessons can be scheduled with Captain Brian Earl.

Q. Is there a fishing fleet or fishing tournament ?
A. Mike Oseland is both a board member and the head of our fishing fleet.

Q. Where is the ice machine ? Is it okay to take ice to my boat ?
A. The ice machine is located inside the clubhouse near the Men’s bathroom corridor. Please only take a bucket-sized quantity for your cooler to take to your boat.

Q. Is there a fuel dock and how do I pay ?
A. Yes the fuel dock is located near the Sheridan Road bridge overpass and offers both gasoline and diesel fuel. A fuel dock attendant will hand you the fuel hose and you will pump your own gas. Payment can be made by either harbor charge or by credit card. Remember to ALWAYS RUN YOUR ENGINE BLOWERS FOR 5 MINUTES PRIOR TO STARTING YOUR ENGINE AFTER FUELING. Tipping the fuel dock attendant is not mandatory but considered a nice courtesy to our summer workers.

Q. Do I tip the dinghy drivers ?
A. Tips are not mandatory but are welcome. Most give $2 to $5 a trip each way to and from their boat. As previously mentioned fuel dock attendants tips are also welcome.

Q. Is there a traffic pattern I should use when heading to and from the lake ?
A. Always be on the lookout for other boats and operate in a slow, safe manner. See image for this news article to see map.

Q. Is there a ‘No Wake ‘ area ?
A. The ‘No Wake’ area is enforced for the entire length of the harbor from the fuel dock to the very tip of the mouth of the lake. Please note if you create a wake there is a high probability of moored boats rubbing together – even small waves can cause costly fiberglass damage.

Q. What are these ‘deck parties’ that I hear about ?
A. Deck parties are our monthly summer “theme” parties thrown on our outdoor deck and include live music, food and drink.

Q. What is ‘Race Weekend’ aka “Harbor Fest “ ?
A. Race Weekend is held the last weekend of July when our sailboats race other clubs around the area. The weekend culminates with the “Harbor Fest” party on Saturday night. Harbor Fest is for all members, not just sailors, and includes dinner, live music, a beer truck, and typically some kind of fun, wacky theme.

Q. Is it okay to bring my own beer, wine or food to the harbor deck when there are no scheduled lunch or dinner events ?
A. Yes, you can BYOB and bring your own lunch or dinner when there are no harbor events scheduled. See below for more information.

Q. Can I use the deck and grills on Friday Night Grill nights ?
A. No. The grills and the deck are not available on Friday nights. Friday nights are catered events hosted by the club and require a reservation. The tables are also reserved for Friday night diners only. However our members who are not having dinner on Fridays but would like to have a drink have their choice of sitting inside at the Buccaneer Bar or outside at the Firepit Deck. Please note the Clubhouse is available for bring your own food and beverage every night EXCEPT Fridays. You may have a drink from the Buccaneer Bar without the catered meal inside the bar area, or at the Fire Pit Deck, but please NO PERSONAL FOOD on FRIDAYS. Speaking of the beautiful new Fire Pit Deck, please make sure you keep it clean up there and use the WHC provided garbage cans.

Q. Can I bring my dog to the ClubHouse?
A. Yes and No! The Club is a dog friendly club but ask that dogs not be on the deck during Friday Night Grills and Weekend Lunches. There is a special club dog party typically in October to celebrate all those furry friends.

Q. Is it okay to swim in the harbor ? Even to jump in quickly and cool off ?
A. No swimming please. There is a chance for “ESD” or Electric Shock Drowning anytime boats with shore charging equipment are present. Swimming near boats with electricity could result in a fatality due to shock. We want to make sure you and your family are safe in the harbor.

Q. Does the harbor offer Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUPs) storage ?
A. Yes, you can bring your own paddleboard and store it on our new paddleboard launch on the south breakwall of the harbor. No paddleboarding is allowed inside the harbor however. Only paddle boarding on the lake please. There is the possibility of electric shock as well as boat propeller injury if paddlers enter the harbor. For your convenience paddleboards can be stored at the paddleboard launch for a fee. Call Hyde Perce to reserve a SUP storage slot.

Q. How can I get weather updates to see wind speed, wave height, and water temperature ?
A. Select “weather” at the top menu of WHC website. Scroll to “Wilmette Buoy” to see wind speed, direction, wave height, lake temperature, as well as a photo of Lake Michigan’s surface. The buoy is located about a mile offshore of Wilmette harbor and the photo of the lake is taken once an hour.

Q. How long does it take to powerboat to downtown Chicago ?
A. Power boats will take approximately 30 minutes at full-speed and flat water. In higher wave conditions or slower speeds it will take about 50 minutes.

Q. How do you go through the locks near Navy Pier to access the Chicago River ?
A. Simply wait outside the locks and wait for the green light. Life jackets are required for everyone on board while going through the locks. Hang protective fenders off the STARBOARD side of your boat while waiting for the green light. Enter the lock and grab a rope that is provided on the lock walls. Water inside the lock will rise to match the height of the river and in about 10-15 minutes the lock will open on the river end and you can slowly proceed down the Chicago river.

Q. Can I moor along the Chicago River and eat ?
A. Yes directly across from the “Corn cob” towers boaters can moor at “Downtown Docks” in front of the “City Winery” restaurant along the river.

Q. Is there really a sunken ship nearby to explore?
A. Yes there is a large sunken wood schooner from the 1800s that can be viewed on days that the lake is calm. It is located several hundred yards south of the Tower Road boat ramp only about 200 yards offshore and in only 15 feet of water. The wreck is fun to snorkel. Please anchor outside of the wreck’s wooden ribs so as to not disturb the site. This is a common destination for our members so please slow down and give a wide berth if you see a boat anchored near the ship wreck. If you don’t know the location ask your mooring neighbor to show you how to locate it. It’s a good ice breaker and a fun, unique thing to explore.