Seattle Parks and Recreation reminds public to recreate safely at beaches and pools

With high temperatures predicted across Western Washington this summer, Seattle Parks and Recreation wants to remind the public about water safety precautions. During the last four years, there were only five days in the month of June when temperatures reached more than 80 degrees. In 2015, June saw at least 15 days with 80+-degree heat.

Lifeguarded beaches opened in Seattle on Saturday, June 20. Since then lifeguards have performed 16 water rescues. By this same time last summer, only three water rescues were necessary. [Read more…]

April Pools Day teaches water safety to Rainier Beach community

The second annual April Pools Day event at Rainier Beach Pool was a success! Thank you to the 150+ visitors who came to the pool and helped Seattle Parks and Recreation spread the word about water safety.

Later this summer, Green Lake Community Center/Evans Pool will be hosting low-cost life jacket sales on June 20, July 18 and Aug. 15. More details to come!

Tizzy Bennett from Seattle Children's Hospital helps fit lifejackets.

Tizzy Bennett from Seattle Children’s Hospital helps fit a life jacket.


[Read more…]

Celebrate April Pool’s Day and make summertime safer

There will be seven free public swims hosted at Seattle Parks and Recreation pools to celebrate April Pool's Day 2015.

There will be seven free public swims hosted at Seattle Parks and Recreation pools to celebrate April Pool’s Day 2015.

Before you know it, we’ll be trading in April showers for blue skies and bathing suits. On Saturday, April 18, six of our pools are hosting FREE public swims. We’ll be teaching water and boating safety and will have fun activities for kids.

Recipient of a lifejacket given away during the raffle at Ballard's April Pool's Day 2014!

Recipient of a lifejacket given away during the raffle at Ballard’s April Pool’s Day 2014!

Don’t miss this opportunity to teach your family how to enjoy summer safely. April Pool’s Day will focus on four main areas of water safety:

  • Preventing open water drowning
  • Lifejacket use and promotion
  • Cold water awareness
  • Basic water rescue for children

[Read more…]

Discounted drop-in swims and fitness sessions now available

DiscountPricing-8.5x11-Rev-Final (2)-page-0Doggy paddle, breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke. We think it’s important to master one or two of these when you live in a city nearly surrounded by water, so this year, we’re making our swimming pools more accessible.

New in 2015, individuals that qualify for Seattle Parks and Recreation program scholarships or reduced fees can also receive discounts at drop-in public swims, family swims, lap swims, pool playlands and selected aquatic fitness programs.

[Read more…]

Seattle Parks Summer Swim League registration is under way

Want to get in shape and have some fun this summer? Register for Summer Swim League!

Seattle Parks and Recreation offers a positive team experience for novice swimmers and teaches them the skills they need to become competitive swimmers in a fun, low-pressure environment. Registration is currently under way.

This is a novice league appropriate for kids of all ages, including those who are just being introduced to swimming, all the way up to high school students who swim for their school teams. Many parents have said that the program helped build their child’s self-esteem and swimming ability.

Participants must be 7-18 years old and able to swim in deep water for at least 25 yards (one length of the pool). The program includes up to five one-hour workouts each week, two dual meets and two larger championship meets.

Registration is open at Southwest, Rainier Beach, Queen Anne, Evans, Meadowbrook, Madison and Medger Evers pools. Practice times vary, depending on the pool and the child’s age.

The cost for the program is $130 and includes a team t-shirt. There is a low-income option ($65) available for those who qualify.

The program begins on Monday, June 23, and ends with the All-City Swim Meet on Saturday, Aug. 2.

To register, please click HERE. Registration closes on June 23 or when the program fills up.

Denny Blaine Park reopened; tests show bacteria levels are within safe standards

Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) have removed warning signs from Denny Blaine Park after multiple water samples showed bacteria levels in Lake Washington, offshore of the park, are within standards considered safe for recreation.

Although Denny Blaine Park is not a designated swimming beach—there is no lifeguard, and Parks officials strongly discourage swimming in the area—“no swimming” signs were posted there last week after city inspectors detected high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in a stormwater pipe just upstream of the park, at 200 Lake Washington Blvd. E.

SPU’s Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) team, which discovered the high bacteria levels as part of a citywide screening program, has now investigated and located the source of the problem—which was found to be a privately owned side sewer improperly connected to the stormwater drainage system. A recent remodel at the residence resulted in the inadvertent connection.

Ellen Stewart, SPU’s IDDE supervisor, said the homeowner will be cited for the improper connection and is working cooperatively with the utility to resolve the situation. Since last week, when the problem was found, SPU has been using a bypass system near the beach to keep sewage out of the water since the problem was found.

“There is a virtual highway of underground utilities in our city; our job is to find the wrong connections and get them fixed. Getting them fixed has a direct impact on the water quality of our rivers, lakes and streams,” Stewart said.

Seattle Parks and Recreation provides welcoming and safe opportunities to play, learn, contemplate and build community, and promotes responsible stewardship of the land. For more information, please go to or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area, SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the City’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region’s environmental resources.

Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities, at:

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Denny Blaine Park closed to swimming due to high bacteria

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle Parks and Recreation this afternoon ordered Denny Blaine Park closed to swimming after city inspectors detected high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in a stormwater pipe just upstream of the park, at 200 Lake Washington Blvd. E.

While the bacteria has not been confirmed at the swimming beach, tests are under way to verify the bacteria level in lake. The beach will remain closed until testing shows it to be safe to swim.

The park is likely to remain closed to swimming through the weekend, until the lake water at the beach has been collected and tested at SPU’s water quality laboratory, and the area is declared safe for human contact. Pets are also at risk.

SPU’s Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) team has begun the work of tracing the source of the bacterial contamination, while other utility workers will be setting up an emergency bypass system, to divert flow from the stormwater drain and into a sanitary sewer line.

The high counts of bacteria were detected by the IDDE team during routine sampling of the city’s stormwater system.

Fecal coliform bacteria live in the digestive tract of warm-blooded animals and humans and are excreted via feces. In themselves, the microorganisms generally do not pose a danger to people or animals but they could indicate the presence of other disease-causing bacteria.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Seattle Parks sells low-cost, high-quality life jackets at Evans Pool

Warm weather means outdoor birthday parties, cook-outs, family reunions and lots of water play. But those having fun in and around water should always remember safety precautions because of the risk of drowning.

To support safe recreation, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Children’s Hospital have partnered with Mustang Survival and the Coast Guard Auxiliary to offer low-cost life jacket sales at Evans Pool in Green Lake Park. The first of five sales will take place on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Evans Pool is located at 7201 E Green Lake Drive N.

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1 – 14 years old. Wearing a life jacket saves lives. Washington state law requires children ages 12 and younger to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket or life vest on vessels fewer than 19 feet long. There must be a life jacket on board that fits for each person older than 12.

“For parents, it’s important to set an example for your kids, and be ready to rescue if needed,” said Elizabeth Bennett from Seattle Children’s. “In an observational study of thousands of boaters in Washington state, both children and teens were significantly more likely to wear a life jacket if the adult was wearing one.”

The cost for life jackets sizes infant to youth large is $20, and for teens to adult size XXXL, is $30.  The life jackets are comfortable, high quality vests in fashion colors. All sales are final. Seattle Parks and Recreation cannot offer refunds or returns.

“It’s a great time to get a life jacket for the summer,” said Southwest Pool Coordinator Diane Jones, who has coordinated the program since 2006. “Life jackets are available in all sizes. They must fit properly to work; they need to be snug but comfortable.”

Customers younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Fitters will be on site to help purchasers choose the correct size. The person for whom the jacket is being purchased must be present for proper fitting.

Parks will hold additional life jacket sales from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the following Saturdays:

  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21

Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase a stylish, Coast Guard approved life jacket! For more information, please email Diane Jones,

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Take the plunge! Start 2013 off right with a bracing swim in Lake Washington at the Polar Bear Plunge!

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, we’ll 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 don’t go in the water, come and watch!
• Don’t drink alcohol – it doesn’t warm you up, and it accelerates hypothermia.
• Don’t stay in the water for longer than 15 minutes – you lose body heat 25 times faster in water than in air.
• Don’t take off your outer clothing until you’re 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 participant’s request, record the names of the bold souls who complete the mission by signing our online blog.