Share story

Sketched Sept. 8, 2016

Days of good weather may linger, but I’m afraid it’s time to say goodbye to summer.

This week, I was reminded of that as I watched the Seattle Police Harbor Patrol tow away the floating swim rafts that bring so much fun to the city beaches along Lake Washington.

As soon as the school year starts, the patrol unties the wooden and concrete platforms from their temporary locations and brings them to a secluded spot on Andrews Bay, where they’ll be safer from the winter storms.

If you go for a walk in Seward Park, you’ll see them slumbering by the trail where I made this sketch. They may make you look forward to next summer as much as I do.

More about the swim raft tow
The swim raft tow operation is a more complex process than it looks. In all, five swim rafts located at Mathews Beach, Madison Beach, Mt. Baker, Pritchard Beach and Seward Park need to be untied from their pilons and taken to their winter storage location in Andrews Bay. The process requires a small boat that can easily access the shoreline and a bigger boat where the rafts are attached one by one for final transportation. Two Park Department employees and two police officers were on the job the day I witnessed the tow from Mount Baker Beach and Seward Park. This seasonal ritual goes unnoticed to most people, but it strikes me as a very unique moment in the life of Seattle’s waterscapes.