Saturday, March 10, 2012

Boaters Guide to Seafair

Lake Washington is famous for Seattle’s Seafair summer celebration on Lake Washington just south of the I-90 Bridge. This is a month long festival of many activities throughout Seattle and usually ends the first Sunday in August. (See the 7/27/11, 7/28/11 and 2/20/11 posts for information on last year’s highlights and Stan Sayres, LW’s famous hydroplane racer who brought the hydroplanes to Seattle.) This year it concludes on August 5.
The final four days feature hydroplane races and the Navy’s Blue Angels’ air shows. The hydroplane races are on the lake south of the I-90 floating bridge. The air show’s center is over this area. The planes and their stunts can be seen from much of the lake and its shores. During these four days the lake is crowded with spectator boats and the lake is renowned for the associated “floating party.” The Blue Angels practice throughout the day on Thursday. The Friday, Saturday and Sunday Blue Angels shows begin with Fat Albert at 1:30 pm followed by the Blue Angels airshow from 1:40 to 2:15.

Seafair has numerous regulations for boaters. Click here for 2011 regulations. This is a summary. Zone 1 includes the hydroplane race course and the logboom northeast of the course. Zone 2 is marked by a restricted buoy line on the outer edge of Zone 1 and covers all of Lake Washington, including Andrews Bay, outside Zone 1 between buoys north of the I-90 Bridge and buoys south of the north end of Seward Park (pdf with map). No vessels can enter this area without a logboom or shoreline resident pass after 9 am Thursday through Sunday. Vessels with passes must enter the restricted areas before 9:30 am on Thursday and noon Friday through Sunday. All vessels without a space on the logboom must exit Zone 1 and Zone 2 no later than 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, and by 12:30 p.m. on all remaining days. The logboom is reserved for customers with passes from 6:00am Friday to 6:00pm Sunday. Boaters proceeding to the logboom in Zone 1 or to any area in Zone 2 shall do so only at idle speed. Any person swimming or otherwise entering the water (outside the logboom only), shall remain within 10 feet of their vessel or the logboom. Vessels on the logboom may raft up to 3 vessels. Vessels in Zone 2 may raft up to 6 vessels. Towing other vessels, including inflatable and other watercraft is not permitted. Children 12 years and younger are required to wear life jackets on vessels shorter than 19 feet and on larger vessels on an open deck or cockpit. The maximum allowable Blood Alcohol Content is less than .08%. Where no capable operator is found aboard a vessel the operator and passengers will be removed from the vessel and the vessel will be impounded.

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