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Seattle Seafair Boating Laws
Many people see this site only after Seafair.
If you are on this page, you most likely were stopped by one of the patrol boats and brought to a mobile breath test unit on Mercer Island and released.
We deal with these cases every year. In past years they have required that you attend court in King County District Court, Northeast Division, which is in Redmond. It may be several months before you have to appear in court.
In the past, we have found that we have been successful in negotiating these cases, particularly with clients who have no, or minimal, criminal history.
Because this is a BUI and not a DUI, the court process is slightly different. The first appearance, can be waived if you have a private attorney. This means that you would not need to go to the first court appearance.
We, as your attorney, would then get your police report and negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to try and get the appropriate result for your case - whether that be a dismissal, reduction to a civil infraction, or setting the case for trial to get a not guilty verdict from a judge or jury.
In the past, we have been able to fairly resolve all of our cases without having to go to jury trial, however, we are prepared to do that if necessary.
There are federal laws specifically in place that have been designed with Seafair in mind. Here they are:
33 CFR § 100.1301 Seattle Seafair unlimited hydroplane race.
(a) This section is in effect annually during the last week in July and the first two weeks of August from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, as published in the Local Notice of Mariners. The event will be one week or less in duration. The specific dates during this time frame will be published in the Local Notice to Mariners.
(b) The area where the Coast Guard will restrict general navigation by this regulation during the hours it is in effect is: The waters of Lake Washington bounded by the Interstate 90 (Mercer Island /Lacey V. Murrow) Bridge, the western shore of Lake Washington, and the east/west line drawn tangent to Bailey Peninsula and along the shoreline of Mercer Island.
(c) The area described in paragraph (b) of this section has been divided into two zones. The zones are separated by a line perpendicular from the I-90 Bridge to the northwest corner of the East log boom and a line extending from the southeast corner of the East log boom to the southeast corner of the hydroplane race course and then to the northerly tip of Ohlers Island in Andrews Bay. The western zone is designated Zone I, the eastern zone, Zone II. (Refer to NOAA Chart 18447).
(d) The Coast Guard will maintain a patrol consisting of Coast Guard vessels, assisted by Auxiliary Coast Guard vessels, in Zone II. The Coast Guard patrol of this area is under the direction of the Coast Guard Patrol Commander (the ''Patrol Commander''). The Patrol Commander is empowered to control the movement of vessels on the racecourse and in the adjoining waters during the periods this regulation is in effect. The Patrol Commander may be assisted by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
(e) Only authorized vessels may be allowed to enter Zone I during the hours this regulation is in effect. Vessels in the vicinity of Zone I shall maneuver and anchor as directed by Coast Guard Officers or Petty Officers.
(f) During the times in which the regulation is in effect, swimming, wading, or otherwise entering the water in Zone I by any person is prohibited while hydroplane boats are on the racecourse. At other times in Zone I, any person entering the water from the shoreline shall remain west of the swim line, denoted by buoys, and any person entering the water from the log boom shall remain within ten (10) feet of the log boom.
(g) During the times in which the regulation is in effect, any person swimming or otherwise entering the water in Zone II shall remain within ten (10) feet of a vessel.
(h) During the times this regulation is in effect, rafting to a log boom will be limited to groups of three vessels.
(i) During the times this regulation is in effect, up to six (6) vessels may raft together in Zone II if none of the vessels are secured to a log boom.
(j) During the times this regulation is in effect, only vessels authorized by the Patrol Commander, other law enforcement agencies or event sponsors shall be permitted to tow other watercraft or inflatable devices.
(k) Vessels proceeding in either Zone I or Zone II during the hours this regulation is in effect shall do so only at speeds which will create minimum wake, seven (07) miles per hour or less.
This maximum speed may be reduced at the discretion of the Patrol Commander.
(l) Upon completion of the daily racing activities, all vessels leaving either Zone I or Zone II shall proceed at speeds of seven (07) miles per hour or less. The maximum speed may be reduced at the discretion of the Patrol Commander.
(m) A succession of sharp, short signals by whistle or horn from vessels patrolling the areas under the direction of the Patrol Commander shall serve as signal to stop. Vessels signaled shall stop and shall comply with the orders of the patrol vessel; failure to do so may result in expulsion from the area, citation for failure to comply, or both. The Coast Guard may be assisted by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as official Seafair event craft.