2013 Seafair survival guide tips for boaters from the Mercer Island Police Department

In August, the Mercer Island Police Department, along with other Law Enforcement Agencies, will be participating in the annual SEAFAIR event.

With all of the excitement of the hydroplane races, Patriots Jets flying overhead, and the massive boating population that will be participating, we want to remind everyone attending this year to have fun and enjoy themselves, but also to do it in a safe and responsible manner.

Here are a few TIPS to help keep you, your passengers, and your boat operators/captain’s safe this year:

• Make sure your boat/personal water craft (PWC) has the correct amount of life jackets, fire extinguishers, and proper equipment for everyone on board your vessel.

• While the boat/PWC is in motion, be sure to keep passengers off of the bow, swim step, tower, rear engine hatch, etc of the boat/PWC. Also, remember to keep your hands and feet inside the boat/PWC while the boat/PWC is in motion.

• If you choose to swim in the lake around a boat/PWC, make sure that the boat/PWC has turned off its engine so that you don’t get injured by moving props, or are exposed to unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide. Make sure you don’t swim more than 100 feet away from your boat.

• If you are operating a boat/PWC, make sure you are NOT under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Multiple agencies will be enforcing BUI laws on Lake Washington, so if you choose to consume alcohol make sure your boat/PWC is operated by a sober skipper/captain.

• Do not overcrowd your boat. Make sure you do not exceed the number of passengers allowed by the capacity plate posted on your boat/PWC. If your boat does not have a maximum capacity plate, you can use this universal equation to figure out the maximum number  of passengers you can carry by multiplying your boat’s length by your boat’s width and dividing by 15 (Boat’s Length X Boat’s Width / 15 = Maximum Number of Passengers).

• If you choose to tie up to another boat or log boom, be careful when boarding other vessels. Accidents can happen, especially when others are doing it in a reckless manner or are under the influence of alcohol/drugs.

• Towing is PROHIBITED inside the SeaFair Event area.

• Speed/Wake restrictions are in effect. Make sure your boat/PWC does not kick up a wake inside the event area.

• Make sure your skipper/captain has a valid WA Boater Education card. If they do not, a WA BEC can be obtained at
During this annual event, the Police and Fire Departments frequently respond to medical calls that result from reckless boating and reckless behavior. If you are going to consume alcohol, please drink responsibly. If you are going to swim in the lake, please be aware of your surroundings. If you are going to be operating a boat this year, please put the safety of your passengers first. Enjoy this year’s event and have fun!

For more SeaFair information visit

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