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Open-water swimming rules

Warm air temperatures don’t translate to warm water temperatures, and even the strongest swimmers can become incapacitated from cold-water shock after just a few minutes in the water, whether it’s in a river, lake or Puget Sound. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise but use caution while enjoying our waterways, and remember that open-water swimming is allowed only within 50 feet of shore.

Seattle law prohibits open-water swimming (farther from shore than 50 feet) in Green Lake, Lake Washington and Puget Sound unless accompanied by a boat that carries lifejackets for each swimmer. The laws are intended to reduce the public safety risk created by boaters’ difficulty seeing swimmers.

Visit for information on staying safe in the water this summer.

Low-cost lifejackets will be on sale on select dates this summer at Evans Pool, Southwest Pool, and Rainier Beach Pool. More information available here.

Please only swim at our designated beaches when lifeguards are on duty.