Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seafair Safety

It's the first week of August in Seattle. The streets are filled with a motley band of ner-do-wells, saying things like "Shiver me timbers!" and "AAArrrrgh!" On otherwise placid Lake Washington we hear the gentle sounds of thousands of horsepower both on and above the water. These clues can only mean one thing - it's time again for Seafair in Seattle.

IF you are planning on being on the water to watch the show, the hydros, the Blue Angles, and all the other attractions, here are a few safety tips:

The area from south of the I-90 floating bridge to a line from the Bailey Peninsula (Seward Park) to Mercer Island, is a NO WAKE zone. Several agencies, including the US Coast Guard, the Seattle Harbor patrol, King County Marine Units and DF&W will be present to enforce this rule.

Here's some reasons why: there will be more people and boats on the water in a relatively small area than at any other time of year. People will be swimming, floating on inner tubes or other devices and generally having a good time. A bobbing head only extends less than a foot above the surface of the water, add a little chop or wakes from passing boats and you can literally be running over someone before you'd ever see them. The wakes from boats also make it difficult for those who have paid a relatively large sum to be tied on the log boom to watch the hydro races. Rocking the boats against the boom and against each other can cause considerable damage. The skipper of a boat causing the wake that causes the damage is responsible for that damage.

Lastly, the wake often roll out on to the race boat course, making the course rough enough that boats skimming along at something around 150 mph can dip into a trough of your wake and this can (and has in the past) caused a boat to lose control, and go airborne, again causing great damage and potentially serious injury to the driver.

Be safe out there, and let's all enjoy the show!

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