‘Be brave!’ You’re invited to the 2024 West Seattle New Year’s Polar Bear Plunge at Alki Beach

(2022 photo by Robert Spears)

It’s back for 2024 – the New Year’s Day tradition that lines Alki Beach with hundreds of people ready to at least briefly submerge themselves in the chilly water of Puget Sound! We just received the announcement from organizer Mark Ufkes:

Optimists unite! Make no mistake about it; Life continues to get better! Our nation continues to get better! Remember, the glass is always way more than half full.

Alki Beach, West Seattle, again this year. We go into the water at 10:00 am sharp on January 1, 2024. Don’t be late. Over 1,000 participated last year, so plan for a crowd. We line up and down the quarter-mile beach, hold hands, and we start counting down from 10, 9, 8 . . . We yell “Happy New Year” and, together, rush wildly into the 47-degree water, screaming with joy! Holding hands and wearing bright colors seems to help. And we are only in the water for a short time. Yes, it’s a form of mild insanity, but a lot of fun too. And the hundreds of smiles before and after is the best part.

In our home, we have a candle service every Winter solstice (December 21), generally considered the end of the year by many ancient cultures. We blow out a candle to leave behind the complexities from last year, and then light the candle again, asking the Universe, in all her infinite wisdom (because God must be a woman after all) for more opportunities to be a better person.

Since our White Center home is too small for 1,000 of you, this year, we encourage all Polar Bear participants and guests to try this;

On a small piece of paper, write down what you want to leave behind from 2023 and what you want from the New Year for you, your family, and for our great nation. There will be a giant jar on a table at Alki beach, with a sign, and lots of pens and pads of paper, so that you can write and then insert your unsigned dreams and wishes list into the jar. We will save the contents for next year’s 2025 announcement.

Life is a clean slate on January 1. Be Brave. Take a deep breath of fresh mountain air. Inhale! Exhale!! Come share the joy of being alive here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Bring your friends and family. This is your year!

Requirements; be an Optimist, be in good health, bring a towel, good water shoes, a change of warm clothes and your hopes and dreams for 2024. 10:00 am sharp. And remember, how can we believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself?

While the crowd stretches quite a ways along the beach, Mark usually shouts the countdown from the vicinity of 57th/Alki.

5 Replies to "'Be brave!' You're invited to the 2024 West Seattle New Year's Polar Bear Plunge at Alki Beach"

  • Geoff December 20, 2023 (12:57 pm)

    always fun, hoping we get good weather.

  • Nate Garberich December 22, 2023 (6:34 pm)

    Stoked for this! Thanks for organizing, Mark! If anyone wants to make plunging a habit, our group meets every Sunday at Alki at 9am for a group plunge, See info below.  All are welcome!  https://www.instagram.com/coldwatercollective_seattle/https://www.coldwatercollective.net/Happy plunging, Nate Garberichcoldwatercollectiveseattle@gmail.com 

  • Mark L. Ufkes December 31, 2023 (9:58 am)

    Tomorrow, January 1, 2024, is going to be a glorious morning for our annual Alki Beach Polar Bear Plunge.   10:00 am sharp.  The huge crowd will be excited and eager.   Holding hands as you go into the water helps.  And the air will be 10 degrees colder than the water, so jumping into Puget Sound will actually warm you up.  Trust me on this.  And remember, wait for the count down!We will wash away the complexities of 2023 and celebrate the unlimited potential that the New Year offers each and every one of us.  Complainers, please stay away.  Go join the Trump Republican Polar Bear swim at Hypocracy Beach somewhere. So many Americans seem to forget that we live in a great, generous country, in a beautiful world-class city, have an unsurpassed quality of life in America, freedoms that the world looks on with perpetual envy, unlimited economic opportunities everywhere, access to health care that most of the world can only dream of, and the highest quality, safest, and cheapest food in the world.  Can we improve?  Of course we can.  And we will.  But to walk through life with anger and resentment every day will destroy your soul, and eventually, our country. Our future gets better each and every day, but only if we believe it.  Happy New Year!Mark L. Ufkes 

    • Margaret January 1, 2024 (9:03 am)

      Why did you choose to make this invigorating, peaceful and exciting event political with that statement?

  • Anthony Evans January 1, 2024 (10:35 am)

    This has been going on for years.  It is not about Mark Ufkes.  You are not required to hold hands, to write down anything on a piece of paper, or to be an “optimist” (Code word for ignoring what’s going on with Seattle right now because of poor decisions from our city government) or to be against a certain political figure or party. 

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