As Memorial Day Weekend approaches, it’s the time of year when Seaplane Advisory Buoys will once again be put in place on Lake Union, asking boaters for the courtesy of awareness and accommodating seaplane traffic.

If you’ve been out on Lake Union on a beautiful summer’s day, you know what a recreational gem it is, but also just how busy it can be. In fact, usage on the lake has increased dramatically in recent years. In an effort to manage seaplane, boat, and other watercraft traffic during the busy summer months, the City of Seattle annually installs five seaplane advisory buoys that are in place from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The buoys run in a north-south line on the lake and are visible day and night. When the buoys’ yellow lights are flashing, a seaplane is about to take off or land, and all lake users are asked to move 200 feet east or west of the buoy line. Yet many new (and even long-time) sailors, powerboaters, and paddlers are unaware of the purpose of the buoys.

The Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW), a volunteer organization run by boaters for boaters, is leading an effort to raise awareness of the seaplane landing advisory zone among all groups of boaters. The campaign is dubbed #MindTheZone and the RBAW would appreciate recreational boater’s help spreading the word. 

For more information or to volunteer, visit Also, while you’re there, consider joining RBAW. They’ve been working on behalf of Washington State boaters since 1956. Accomplishments include saving Sucia Island from developers and donating it to the State of Washington for a marine park and more recently purchasing the historic Lakebay Marina in South Sound and intend to also preserve it as a state park for all to enjoy.