To many people in the Northwest (self included) SeaFair is the pinnacle of the summer. If you are new to Seattle and have not heard of SeaFair, it is a festival paired with Seattle’s “fleet week” when the U.S. Navy selects ships to dock in the city and opens them up to the public… there are parades, fun runs, hydroplane races, and the ultimate grand finale of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels putting on a 3-day air show over the city for all to enjoy. There is lots to enjoy and celebrate, and people venture out to participate in full force! It is one of the weekends in the summer I look forward to the most, and is a fantastic northwest tradition to take part in.
Attending SeaFair in a boat is the most fun way to enjoy the event, but there are lots of little details to know. It can be a lot to try and figure out on your own if you have never given it a try, so after a successful weekend out there ourselves, I thought I would write about the main things to know while it is all fresh in my mind!
Here are five key things to know about attending SeaFair by water:
More Boat Traffic Than You Have Ever Seen
The lake is crazy!
For me, it is crazy fun, but I am an experienced boater. Like, have been working in the marine industry for 7 years and drive boats almost every day of my life, and I still find it stressful! By the end of the air show, the lake was so congested that there were times where there was a boat floating on either side of us less than 2 feet away in every direction. Make sure there is one person designated to drive and be on the lookout at all times. Constantly being alert is absolutely necessary – don’t be afraid, just be aware. I wanted to be in the middle of the chaos with the best view possible, so I totally went for it. If the crowd is making you nervous you can absolutely hang away from the fray and still enjoy a fantastic air show. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to go without stress… sometimes the boat traffic is so heavy that it makes sense to leave a little early to get there or a little late to head back so that you aren’t sloshing around in all the other boat wakes.
You NEED a DD
There are patrols in full force – a designated driver is a MUST.
This ties into having an alert and aware driver as well. Not only is the lake crawling with crazy people, but it is crawling with patrols too. When floating near the bridge I bet a patrol passed us every 5-10 minutes, and we were out there for 4 HOURS! King 5 released an article that there were 54 BUIs issued over 3 days this past SeaFair weekend. Again, don’t let that ruin your fun, just enjoy SeaFair responsibly! Honestly, the lake is so busy that I couldn’t imagine enjoying myself if I was drinking, especially being out with my babies! My hubby and friends enjoyed a few cold ones, but it was LaCroix only for me as the driver.
It Gets LOUD!!
The air show is BOOMING! Ear protection for your littles is necessary.
We have these little baby headphones that have come in handy over the years, using them for soccer games, concerts and miscellaneous loud life moments. However my 4-year-old has started using them for play and we couldn’t find them to save our lives for SeaFair! So we improvised and used my Bose noise cancelling headphones, which I think baby’s little smushy face looked pretty darn cute in if you ask me. I was a little worried about them falling in the lake since that would be an expensive accident to happen, but all was fine and she enjoyed the air show with her little ears protected.
Access Is Controlled
There are areas of the lake access is closed to during certain windows of times.
There are so many things going on SeaFair weekend between the air shows and hydroplane races, then in add in the insane amounts of boat traffic trying to get there and watch everything… if it wasn’t regulated it would be a mess! So, every year there are rules for at what times you can and can’t enter certain areas. Below is a picture of the map outlining areas and closures in 2019, but it changes slightly year over year. Be sure to do your research and know what time you need to be where. For the sake of being with kiddos and wanting to avoid maximum level craziness we did not even attempt to make it anywhere near the log boom and simply floated just a little north of the I-90 bridge on the west side of Mercer Island. We arrived around 12:30 and just enjoyed the day floating while boat traffic filled in around us. In this location there were no closures to worry about and we boated back at our leisure after the Blue Angels were done.
It’s a Blast!! (PUN INTENDED)
It is the most crazy fun weekend of boating to enjoy here in the greater Seattle area!
Truly, SeaFair is the Christmas of the summer to me. I am a holiday kind of person… I enjoy having them to look forward to, to entertain for, and really celebrate in the moment. In the fall and winter there are holidays galore, but summer has always felt like it was lacking to me. Now living in the Northwest, that has changed because I have SeaFair to look forward to with family and friends every year! The Blue Angels are so powerful and precise; they are so incredible to be able to experience first-hand. If you have never attended SeaFair before, I strongly suggest you give it a try! If you don’t have a boat you can still participate in all the fun on land at Seward Park in Seattle, where you can watch the hydroplane races and Blue Angels from the grand stands, in addition to enjoying great food trucks and family activities throughout the park.
SeaFair is annual and is always the first weekend in August. For more info, check them out here at www.seafair.com!
So, have you ever attended SeaFair before, by land or by water? If not, do you plan to now? Always feel free to comment if you have questions, I will reply back 🙂
X.O. – Abbey Co.
Here are a few different options for noise cancelling headphones for babies and kids:
These are my Beats Solo headphones that Vienna used instead. Make sure they have noise cancellation (mine do) and they worked great in lieu of our baby pair we couldn’t find at the time.
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