Workboats get their day at the Seattle Maritime Festival Family Fun Day, being held this year at Lake Union Park.

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After last weekend’s Opening Day of boating season, workboats have their day Saturday, May 9, at the Seattle Maritime Festival Family Fun Day at Lake Union Park. Celebrating the maritime industry that’s been a vital part of Seattle’s history and heritage since the first steamship commissioned by Hudson’s Bay Company arrived in Seattle’s harbor in 1850, the Seattle Propeller Club and Port of Seattle event features tours, competitions and activities for all ages.

Because of the ongoing seawall and tunnel projects, all Maritime Festival events are at Lake Union Park this year, so the traditional tugboat races along Seattle’s waterfront are on hiatus, replaced by a Workboat Parade at 11 a.m., followed by Tugboat Demonstration and Ballet.

Most other popular festival traditions continue, including Survival Suit Races — teams of four competing to be the fastest to don survival suits, jump into Lake Union, swim to a life raft and climb aboard — at 1:30 p.m., and the Workboat World Invitational Boat Building Competition, which has industry teams building a boat starting at 9 a.m. that will be judged at 3 p.m. and raced at 4 p.m. on Lake Union.

Seattle Maritime Festival Family Fun Day

Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 9.

Cost: Free. Kids’ bounce houses $5/unlimited.

Location: Lake Union Park, 800 Terry Ave. N., Seattle,


Center for Wooden Boats: 1010 Valley St., Seattle; 206-382-2628 or

Events through the day include industry displays by the Port of Seattle, Vigor Industrial, Global Diving and Salvage and the U.S. Coast Guard, tours of historic vessels, tugboats and coast guard boats. There also will be music by several local sea chantey performers, food vendors and a beer garden.

Free boat tours of the working waterfront in South Lake Union and on the Ship Canal cast off at 1 and 3:30 p.m., with tickets available half an hour before each departure on a space-available basis. Kids’ activities feature toy boat building, arts and crafts and bounce houses.

Lake Union Park, 12 acres of green space and waterfront, is Seattle’s newest major park, completed in 2010 and home to the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and the Center for Wooden Boats, that both honor the maritime heritage of the city and region. The Center for Wooden Boats includes free exhibits daily and year-around boat rentals, classes and workshops. On Sundays, weather permitting, the CWB will offer free public sails in classic boats throughout the day. Sign-ups for the popular program start at 10 a.m. and often fill quickly, especially when the weather is nice.

Public parking is available along Westlake Avenue North on the north side of Lake Union Park. The South Lake Union Street Car is a handy option for access to the park. On weekends it runs every 15 minutes between downtown Seattle and Lake Union Park.