Kenmore Air and Harbor Air have resumed service to and from Canada so the floatplane zone on Lake Union will once again be busy with planes arriving and departing along the designated operations area. A vertical line of 5 lighted buoys extending north from the Museum of History and Industry building marks the runway in the center of the lake. Aircraft, taking off and landing, trigger flashing yellow lights on the buoys to indicate air operation so boats and other water craft know to clear the area. When these lights are activated, vessels need to stay 200 feet away on either side of the line of buoys. Traffic on Lake Union has grown significantly over the last few years – boats, paddleboards, kayaks, and seaplanes – creating a need for a campaign of greater awareness regarding this seaplane zone.

RBAW (Recreational Boating Association of Washington) recently submitted their proposal to be part of the education and outreach awareness campaign for Lake Union users to minimize potential conflicts between non-motorized and motorized vessels and floatplanes. Funding for this awareness campaign comes from the State’s RCO (Recreation and Conservation Office) boating grant programs.

RBAW is delighted to have been awarded the contract for floatplane safety awareness for the “on-shore” part of the campaign. RBAW will launch the campaign starting the end of June by posting signage at boat launches, marinas, and businesses who sell and rent boats and human powered vessels. Additional outreach will be through social media, traditional media, and videos.

Map from Waggoner showing floatplane landing area in Lake Union

A map of the seaplane zone in Lake Union is included in the Waggoner Cruising Guide and has been provided to RBAW in support of RBAW’s “#MindTheZone” campaign. As we enter the very busy 2022 boating season, boaters are reminded to review their charts, stay alert, and maintain situational awareness.