City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   11th Annual Polar Bear Plunge Set for January 1, 2013
12/19/2012  3:57:00 PM

11th Annual Polar Bear Plunge Set for January 1, 2013
Start the new year off right with a bracing swim in Lake Washington!

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Meadowbrook Community Center Advisory Council are co-sponsoring the 11th Annual Polar Bear Swim at high noon on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 at Matthews Beach, 9300 51st Ave. NE. Registration starts at 11 a.m. and the Plunge starts at noon sharp.

There will be refreshments and a 2013 Official Patch of Courage for all heroic polar bears who immerse themselves neck-deep in the lake, to prove to friends and loved ones they actually braved the frigid waters, which today were a bracing 48 degrees Fahrenheit.†

Make the plunge even more special by dressing up in a costume! Sign our memory book at, and share your experience at the event on your Facebook page, blog, YouTube or Twitter accounts.

Once again, weíll feature the new Polar Cub Club, a special time just before the big polar bears plunge, for younger folks or people who need a little bit more room. Some people actually choose to double dip.†
Parks offers a few tips for enjoying a fun, safe swim:†

  • Come early, and carpool or take the bus.†
  • You can plan your trip at
  • If you have heart problems or other serious medical concerns, we recommend you consult your health care professional before taking the Polar Bear Plunge. If you donít go in the water, come and watch!†
  • Donít drink alcohol Ė it doesnít warm you up, and it accelerates hypothermia.†
  • Donít stay in the water for longer than 15 minutes Ė you lose body heat 25 times faster in water than in air.†
  • Donít take off your outer clothing until youíre ready to get in the water, and remove wet clothing before getting into dry clothes.

The Polar Bear Plunge was the first official event of its kind in the Seattle area. Janet Wilson, the Aquatic Center Coordinator at Meadowbrook Pool, started the event on January 1, 2003. About 300 people participated in that first Polar Bear Plunge, and since then the attendance has soared to more than 1,500 brave bears of every age. The plunge has inspired other, similar events in the Seattle area.†

Witnesses to history will, at each participantís request, record the names of the bold souls who complete the mission by signing our online blog.†


Seattle Parks and Recreation