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SPD Home / Police Work / Harbor Patrol / Water Safety Tips

HARBOR Patrol - SUmmer safety tips

Harbor Patrol

While Harbor Patrol is here to help when you need it, we hope you follow the safety tips on this site to avoid trouble.


The Seattle Police Department Harbor Patrol Unit responds to approximately 6,000 calls for service per year, the majority of which occur during the summer months.

Especially during the summer months, it is important that the public is reminded of boating and swimming safety tips for water activities.

Seattle Police personnel want to ensure the time people spend in the water is safe and enjoyable. The Seattle Police Department Harbor Unit has developed the following list of important water safety tips and encourages people, even those who consider themselves experienced at water safety, to review safety information.

  • Insist properly fitted PFD's (Personal Floatation Devices) be worn by everyone riding in a boat or being towed on an inner tube, skis or other device.
  • Never allow alcohol to be consumed when around the water.
  • Never swim in unsupervised areas, and never swim alone.
  • Do not dive or jump into unfamiliar or shallow water because of the risk of spinal cord or head injuries.
  • Go to shore when changing places in small tippy boats or canoes.
  • Limit boating to safe weather and water conditions.
  • Teach your child to swim or enroll them in swim classes.
  • Children should not jump into the pool on their own until they are able to climb out on their own.
  • If a river carries a stick faster than you can walk on shore, it's moving too fast.
  • Don't swim in or around lily pads because arms or legs may become entangled.


Harbor Patrol Guide



The following are seasonal events around Seattle that effects water recreation.

Opening Day Boating Season

The official opening of Seattle's boating season is sponsored by the Seattle Yacht Club. Opening Day includes many kinds of water activities such as crew races, a sailboat regatta, and the Opening Day Boat parade. It is held on the first Saturday in May and takes place in the Montlake Cut.

SEAFAIR Hydroplane Races

The annual Seafair Hydroplane Races are one of Seattle's most popular events. It takes place on southwest Lake Washington and the Stan Sayres Pit area near Genesee Park, and occurs on the first weekend in August. The gates open at 8 a.m. and racing starts at 10 a.m.

SEAFAIR is one of the busiest boating events of the season. Drinking and operating a boat is subject to the same DUI laws as operating a motor vehicle and Harbor Patrol actively enforces these laws.


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