Search Result for : buoy

LOST BUOY: Seen this anywhere on the shore?

Usually we point lost/found non-pet listings to their own special WSB section – but we’ll showcase the occasional unusual lost/found item on the front page, like this one. Erin from Brace Point e-mailed: “We lost a buoy and wondering if you could post this picture … contact 206-932-0326 if someone finds it.”

BEACHED BUOY: Look what showed up at Lincoln Park

2:52 PM: Apparently just a coincidence, but on the same day that U.S. Coast Guard buoy-tenders showed up in West Seattle waters, this King County-owned buoy has just shown up on shore. The photos are from a reader who spotted it on the beach at Lincoln Park, by Colman Pool (thanks for sending!).

We recognized it immediately from past stories including this one after it was launched in 2013 to monitor marine water quality, and this one from a beaching the following year. We just contacted Diane McElhany at the King County lab, and she confirms it’s theirs, adding, “We will be dealing with it today.”

5:51 PM: And deal with it they did:

Thanks to Mike Mahanay for that photo!

Seen off West Seattle: Sea lions and seals’ buoy hangout

You’ve probably seen – or at least heard – the sea lions and seals who hang out on that mooring buoy off West Seattle’s northeast shore. Christopher Boffoli‘s photo provides a drone’s-eye view from more than 300 feet up (drone operators are required to stay below 400 feet). It also gives us a reason to remind you about the rules on the ground – we talked earlier this week with Seal Sitters at a taped-off stretch of Alki, east of the end of the sandy beach, and learned about what happened to Taffy the harbor seal. Most of the marine mammals on the buoy are California sea lions, by the way.

Beached-buoy followup: King County trying to solve the mystery

That photo shared by Lura last night showed the retrieval of a King County water-quality-monitoring buoy from its surprise spot on the Beach Drive shore, less than a year after it was put into place off Lincoln Park. Following up on what we reported Sunday, here’s what the county says today:

King County Environmental Laboratory employees are looking into how a water-quality- data-collection buoy came loose from its mooring before washing ashore along West Seattle on June 29.

The buoy and its host of environmental sensors had been in place off Point Williams since July 2013 and automatically transmitted a wealth of important data about environmental conditions. King County employees were notified early in the morning of June 29 that the buoy was ashore along the 5400 block of Beach Drive SW, south of Me-Kwa-Mooks Park.

Later that day, laboratory employees successfully refloated the buoy and towed it to the Elliott Bay Marina while arrangements are made to move it to the County’s environmental laboratory in Queen Anne for refitting.

While the buoy itself appears unscathed by its unexpected journey, a sensor that detects and transmits data on water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity and depth did not fare as well and was damaged.

Exactly how the buoy came loose from its mooring remains a mystery. The buoy was secured off Point Williams by nearly 1,200 pounds of weight, including two railroad wheels and a heavy gage steel chain that was attached to the buoy by a shackle mechanism.

Environmental laboratory workers will try to determine what part of the mooring set-up broke and how it can be repaired so that the buoy can be placed back at Point Williams.

Beached-buoy update: King County water-quality outpost floats in, gets towed out

FIRST REPORT, 9:25 AM: Lura shares the photo from the 5400 block of Beach Drive SW. It appears to be the King County water-quality-monitoring buoy placed off Lincoln Park almost a year ago, described at the time as “firmly anchored in about 550 feet of water just less than half a mile off Point Williams.” She was making phone calls in hopes of finding someone to report it to, and just sent an update saying a neighbor has reached somebody. (The buoy, by the way, still seems to be sending readings.)

UPDATE, 4:51 PM: From King County’s Kimberle Stark:

Thanks definitely go out to the residents who reported the buoy was on the beach!!! Staff from the King County Environmental Laboratory are going to try and retrieve it tonight. We’re not sure what happened yet until we get a close look at the bottom frame. Thanks again to the residents who reported it in such a timely manner!

UPDATE, 6:40 PM: Looks like they were able to retrieve it – Lura sent this photo of the buoy under tow:

West Seattle sea scene: Buoy tender USCGC Henry Blake

May 20, 2014 9:53 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle sea scene: Buoy tender USCGC Henry Blake
 |   Seen at sea | West Seattle news

Thanks to Guy Smith on Alki Point for sharing the photo of the 175-foot buoy tender USCGC Henry Blake, seen between our peninsula and Bainbridge Island today. We noticed it while out for a midday walk on Duwamish Head, but didn’t have binoculars or zoom lens or even handy at the time; Guy’s e-mail tonight with the photo enabled us to identify it via its number, WLM-563. It’s based in Everett and was commissioned there in 2000, according to the Henry Blake’s official USCG fact sheet, which notes, “Henry Blake’s primary mission is servicing navigational aids, but it also provides marine environmental protection and search and rescue.” Closer view:

P.S. Bonus info – here’s a closer look at the Coast Guard’s “black-hulled fleet,” including this ship, and how the USCG’s ships are color-coded.

Oh, buoy! King County’s new water-quality monitor off Lincoln Park

Thanks to Beach Drive Blog for first word of this – a new buoy off Lincoln Park that’s gathering water-quality information around the clock. After seeing BDB’s story this afternoon, we asked the county if it had an announcement to share:

A new marine water quality monitoring buoy launched this week by King County will provide a wealth of data about water conditions on Puget Sound to scientists and the public alike.

At more than seven and a half feet in diameter and standing three feet tall with a seven-foot-tall mast, the yellow, donut-shaped buoy is firmly anchored in about 550 feet of water just less than half a mile off Point Williams in West Seattle. The buoy was deployed July 30th by staff with the King County Environmental Laboratory’s Field Science Unit.

The water quality monitoring system on the buoy consists of water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, nitrate and depth sensors that collect data measurements every 15 minutes.

These sensors are suspended about three feet below the buoy. Collected data are sent via a cell phone in near real-time to the County’s marine mooring webpage where the public can access the data, at

Water quality sensors and communications equipment were repurposed from a former monitoring system that stopped functioning about one year ago.

The new water quality monitoring system is one of four locations in Puget Sound that collect data every 15 minutes.

Collected data are integrated into the County’s monthly marine monitoring program in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of marine water quality dynamics.

The county link doesn’t seem to be working right now, but this one from the BDB report is – just click the green circle off West Seattle.

Lost at sea: Neighbors looking for a missing mooring buoy

Rick R is wondering if you can help find that missing buoy:

Our neighbor’s mooring was last seen on Sunday, before the lightning storm. It normally rests in the small bay just South of Brace Point, around the point from Fauntleroy Cove.

It isn’t the best looking buoy around, but it has a lot of sentinmental value. If the chain broke, it could have ended up anywhere from The Arroyos to Alki Point..or beyond.

If seen, please send me a note at

West Seattle (offshore) scene: Sea lions sighted – oh, buoy!

You can hear them from Don Armeni, Jack Block, and Seacrest, and vicinity – but unless you’re out on the water, or have binoculars, no closeup look. Patrick McCaffrey provides us with a view of the sea lions that hang out off Harbor Avenue – from a distance and close up.

Thanks to Patrick and the other fine photographers who share photos here – if you have a photo to share, here are the various ways to share it!

Marker Buoy Dive Club starts 2011 with Seacrest underwater toast

January 2, 2011 10:32 pm
|    Comments Off on Marker Buoy Dive Club starts 2011 with Seacrest underwater toast
 |   Holidays | West Seattle news

99+ percent of the hundreds of people who crowded West Seattle’s downtown-facing shore on New Year’s Eve were there to watch the fireworks. And then – there was the Marker Buoy Dive Club. For the first time in a few years, club members arranged an underwater champagne toast in the popular diving spot Cove 2 off Seacrest Park. As a former club president, Paul Riggs, explained, “We have done this in the past, but not the last couple of years as the tides have not been favorable for the event, entering at Seacrest Park at extreme low tide at night with 80+ pounds of gear is tricky.” The club set up a tent outside Alki Crab and Fish at the pier and arranged a video feed into the tent so the celebration could be viewed without going underwater. They also planned to put it all together as a video for YouTube – and the results, above, have just been published. The underwater action starts in the fourth minute; it’s interspersed with the Space Needle fireworks a bit later in the video. If you don’t make it to the credits at the end – Jim McGauhey put together the video; he and Randy Williams were also the underwater photographers. Meantime, Paul tells us the next big event at Cove 2 is on January 15th, as part of the Seattle Aquarium‘s octopus census.

Sunday midafternoon miscellany: Buoy basking, and more

(Saturday photo by JanS)
FROM THE WSB FORUMS: Ready for some good news? There’s a heartwarming “rave” in the WSB Forums’ Rants & Raves section – someone thankful for the people who helped an injured dog find its way home. Read it here.

YET MORE HELPFULNESS: Last weekend, Greg Hatcher shared the story of the booth he and his Madison Middle School student artists planned to have at Emerald City Comicon downtown. Today – his mega-report on the convention and the generosity of folks who chipped in to help them raise money to keep the program going (it relies in part on Partners With Youth, for which the West Seattle YMCA [WSB sponsor] is raising money right now). Read his story here.

“NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE WEEK”: Our citywide-news partners at the Seattle Times are featuring Genesee Hill as “Neighborhood of the Week” today. They’ve featured West Seattle areas before but we’re noting this (a) because Dale e-mailed us about it and (b) since it’s home to the newly formed Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council (WSB coverage here).

UPDATE: Water-rescue response off Beach Drive

(Added: Photos by David Hutchinson. Above, SFD’s Fireboat 2)

5:10 PM: A Seattle Fire water-rescue response is headed to the 5600 block of Beach Drive SW (map), after a report of a kiteboarder in trouble. Updates to come.

5:19 PM: Via radio communication, responders say they’re seeing a board but so far, nobody with it. Also note, the response is on a narrower section of Beach Drive, which means traffic effects – avoid the area.

5:24 PM: They’ve found a blue-and-white board offshore, attached to a buoy, but have not confirmed whether anyone is actually missing.

5:28 PM: They’ve determined this board isn’t linked to anyone in trouble; there’s another boarder about a mile south they’re going to go check with to be sure they’re OK and weren’t with anyone.

5:37 PM: They’re not finding evidence of that person so far, but now they’re looking at relocating crews further south – to Lowman Beach and/or the ferry dock – until they can check more closely. The dispatcher says the original caller reported a kiteboarder last seen “two hours ago.”

5:43 PM: “It does not appear we have a victim at this time,” is the conclusion, and this is being wrapped up/canceled.

UPDATE: Water-rescue response off Harbor Avenue, canceled

September 28, 2020 9:10 pm
|    Comments Off on UPDATE: Water-rescue response off Harbor Avenue, canceled
 |   West Seattle news | WS breaking news

9:10 PM: Seattle Fire has a water-rescue response headed to the 1700 block of Harbor Avenue SW, by land and sea. They’re responding to.a report of a flashing light, “possible distress signal,” offshore.

9:16 PM: Initial assessment – it’s a blinking light attached to a buoy marking a net, and no one in the area has heard any calls for help. SFD is canceling the call.

ALSO OPEN: Click! Design That Fits goes delivery/pickup

March 17, 2020 2:45 pm
|    Comments Off on ALSO OPEN: Click! Design That Fits goes delivery/pickup
 |   Coronavirus | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

It’s not just restaurants/beverage businesses – some retailers are going delivery/pickup too, like longtime WSB sponsor Click! Design That Fits in The Junction. Their message to customers:

Guys. This COVID-19 thing is out.of.control. We want you, our staff, and our vendors to stay healthy at all costs. We’ve decided that it’s in our collective best interests to temporarily close the store starting on Tuesday 3.17.20. We will remain closed until further notice.

We’ve been blown away by the support you’ve given us over the past week as this thing has gotten bigger and crazier. We can’t thank you enough for supporting the locally owned, independent businesses who employ your friends, neighbors and kids and give back to West Seattle in countless ways. We go into this break buoyed by your dedication to this community and the small businesses that make it tick.

While we’re closed we’ll be doing a TON of website updates so you can still get your Click! fix. Our web shop will remain open and we’ll be shipping orders regularly. Orders over $75 will ship free anywhere in the USA. If you’re local, we can deliver within West Seattle for no charge (orders of $50 or more) and will have curbside order pickups by appointment (any order amount).

Keep your eyes peeled for email and social media (Instagram, Facebook) updates from us and definitely reach out to us at if you have thoughts, questions or concerns.

Thank you again for being the best. We love you and are looking forward to seeing your faces again in the near future. Until then, stay safe and wash your hands!

Click! is at 4540 California SW.

UPDATE: Water-rescue response off Emma Schmitz Overlook

(Added: WSB photo)

12:58 PM: The big SFD/SPD response to Beach Drive SW is because someone spotted a paddleboard offshore, unoccupied, and is worried someone might be in trouble. Updates to come.

1 PM: Responders are saying the paddleboard appears to be tied to buoy(s). No person(s) in sight.

1:15 PM: Call’s closed, and crews were gone by the time we arrived in the area a few minutes ago.

WHALE ALERT: Resident orcas in the area again!

11:57 AM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for word that Southern Resident Killer Whales are in the area again! Southbound off Bainbridge Island – still north of Elliott Bay – at last word.

1:35 PM: In comments, Robin Sinner reports: “1:15 pm, just saw two breaches from Constellation Park in West Seattle, southbound to red buoy.”

READER REPORT: Underwater cleanup at Seacrest doubles as research opportunity

Thanks to Scott at Seattle Dive Tours for the report and photos:

On Saturday, April 27th, Seattle Dive Tours coordinated an underwater clean up at Seacrest Park. 10 divers committed their time to clean up debris found underwater and were able to remove around 100 pounds of debris from our ocean.

West Seattle-based and West Seattle-owned Seattle Dive Tours coordinated the event to help clean up their primary dive site. They used Project Aware’s Dive Against Debris program to provide education and a PADI dive specialty certification that included a short presentation from an environmental scientist. After collection, all the debris was weighed, sorted and cataloged by a volunteer from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.

Project Aware’s Dive Against Debris program collects data from divers and dive businesses around the world to assist in aggregating data of marine debris to better understand this issue confronting our world.

The most interesting item found was a tennis racket while the heaviest item was a car tire. As always, there is always a plethora of plastic spoons found. Previously, Seattle Dive Tours owner Scott Flaherty recovered a McDonald’s coffee stir spoon that hasn’t been produced since the early 1990s. This is just another reminder that plastics do not break down. Sadly, the vast majority of the debris is always found closer to water taxi at the buoy line.

Wide-ranging field of paddlers and rowers in 2018 Great Cross-Sound Race from/to Alki

August 25, 2018 9:25 pm
|    Comments Off on Wide-ranging field of paddlers and rowers in 2018 Great Cross-Sound Race from/to Alki
 |   West Seattle news | WS & Sports

(Winners Taylor and Hirtle)

Story and photos by Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

28 human-powered watercraft and their humans braved unseasonal weather and subpar air quality to participate in the 2018 edition of the annual Great Cross-Sound Race, which launched off Alki Beach at 9 am Saturday morning.

The race, presented by Sound Rowers Open-Water Rowing and Paddling club, is open to all human-powered watercraft Event organizer Jeff Knakal said he was pleased with the turnout for the race, in light of the lingering smoke in the area.

“It’s great to see the variety of boats,” said Knakal (photo above), who, with wife Theresa Knakal, has been directing the race since 2001. “We have everything from a prone paddler to a four-man rowing shell, and beginners to very experienced rowers.”

While the vast majority of entrants used kayaks or rowing shells, this year’s race also featured a pedal boat and a stand-up paddleboard.

James Taylor and Peter Hirtle completed the course in 53:15 in their two-person open-water boat to best the field of 28. The final finisher was Ralph Allen, who crossed the sound in a wooden fixed-seat boat, finishing in just under two hours and 21 minutes.

¨I am surprised that it went as well as it did, considering the weather and the smoke,” said Knakal, who has been directing the race since 2001. ¨The boats came in really fast for the conditions. I thought the chase boat might turn some of the less-experienced people back, but that didn’t happen, so that was great.¨

(Club photographer Michael Lampi in his pedalboat)

Knakal says the race originated from a bar bet over whether the Sound could be rowed across in an hour. The 1988 race was the last to finish at Bainbridge Island, with all subsequent races starting and ending off Alki Beach. The current course, adopted in 1994, runs more than seven miles in a triangle starting from Alki and going around Blakely Rock and a buoy near Decatur Reef before returning to West Seattle.

¨It got really windy toward the island and got super-tough going around Blakely Rock,” said stand-up paddleboarder Zak Abeles, a student recently transplanted here from the San Francisco bay area who completed his route in 1 hour, 42 minutes. ¨It was raining out there, but it was pretty fun.¨

Watch this page for full results. Meantime, Sound Rowers’ next race is the Bainbridge Island Marathon on September 15, which is their longest race of the year. Club membership is not required for participation.

Another Bremerton-to-Alki Point swim planned before summer’s end

(August 2017 photo by David Hutchinson, from Boiland/Leslie swim)

Last August, Lauren Boilini and Jerome Leslie did it, one year after Erika Norris became the first swimmer to do it in more than half a century. We’re referring to what’s known as the Amy Hiland Swim, Bremerton to Alki Point, named after the woman who did it in 1959. In two weeks, a West Seattle woman’s going to take on the challenge. The announcement was sent by Andrew Malinak, president of the Northwest Open Water Swimming Association:

Rose Filer, 25, of West Seattle will attempt a solo swim crossing from Bremerton to Alki Light. Ms. Filer will make the attempt accompanied by a boat and crew, along with an official from the Northwest Open Water Swimming Association. The 10.4 mile swim, first completed in 1959 by Amy Hiland, will begin on August 31st at about 10:30 am and should finish at Alki Light around 4:00 pm.

Rose Filer is originally from Nederland, CO and moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington where she competed in rowing. She has been training regularly at Alki Beach for the past two years, and is very familiar with the challenges posed by the cold water, weather, and currents in this part of the Puget Sound. This will be Ms. Filer’s first marathon swim attempt.

The swim will be sanctioned and recorded by the Northwest Open Water Swimming Association (NOWSA), a 501c3 non-profit promoting the sport of marathon swim in the Northwest. In the spirit and traditions of marathon swimming, this swim will follow rules that do not allow for any assistance from heat-retention or buoyancy aids. NOWSA has sanctioned 4 successful attempts at the Bremerton-to-Alki route.

You’ll be able to track the event on August 31st, as with other NOWSA swims, at

West Seattle whale-watching: Orca sighting

8:55 AM: Texter says orcas are northbound, passing The Arroyos – midchannel, at least three whales.

10:04 AM: Another texter says the orcas are now reported to be north of Blake Island, “at least five orcas, crossing north of the midchannel buoy.” Also, we’ve added a photo from the first tipster, Chris Frankovich.

GONE FISHING: First day to seek shrimp in Elliott Bay

10:16 AM: Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photos! Along with everything else happening today, it’s the first day of shrimp fishing in Elliott Bay – until 1 pm or until the limit is caught, as explained in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announcement.

Jim explains that photo”was taken toward Bainbridge Island; you can see a few boats off Alki in the foreground with the buoys for the shrimp pots near the boats. In the background you can see all the small boats in the area around Blakely Rocks near Bainbridge.” And keep in mind that with the 1 pm closing (west of Alki Point, it’s even earlier – 11 am), it will be very busy around Don Armeni Boat Ramp early this afternoon. The state hasn’t yet announced the next date(s).

ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: Above and below, two photos from our pass through Don Armeni as many boaters were leaving just before 1 pm.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team vessel

1:10 PM: Thanks to the texter who tipped us about a U.S. Coast Guard vessel close-in off Alki Beach a little while ago. We went over for a photo and discovered it’s with the USCG Aids to Navigation Team (here’s what they do). We have a message out to the USCG in hopes of finding out what it was up to, so close to shore. Also in the area, according to, two other USCG vessels – buoy tender USCGC Henry Blake (which we last mentioned after receiving a photo in 2014) and USCGC Midgett.

ADDED 7:30 PM: Thanks to Anne Noonan for the photo of the Midgett (and the Olympics). Meantime, USCG public affairs is checking on what the ANT crew was doing so close to shore – check back here tomorrow.

ADDED THURSDAY: From the Coast Guard:

Their crew aboard the 55-foot Aids to Navigation Boat (ANB) was training while they were out. The set out a temporary buoy and simulated servicing it, then ran a few engineering drills.

All of the buoys we’re responsible for are on a regular servicing schedule, where Aids to Navigation (ATON) units will pull the buoy out of the water, check the wear on the buoy itself, the chain and the sinker, either a rock or a dor-mor (sinkers are a large cement block the other end of the chain is attached to. A dor-mor is a pyramid shaped piece of cast iron, these are typically used by the ANT teams, while sinkers are used by the cutters) and replace parts as needed.

Regarding a few points in comments:

There are only four small boats in the entire Coast Guard that have names and all are stationed in our district. Those are the 52-foot Motor Life Boats, Triumph II in Ilwaco, Washington, Invincible II in Westport, Intrepid in Charleston, Oregon, and the Victory in Newport. All our other small boats are referred to by length and type (e.g. 29-foot Response Boat-Medium II). So within the service we just refer to the 55’s and either the 55’s or an ANB.

As for the Midgett, it was not on fire … That was just it working. As for what they were doing, the crew recently wrapped up work on one of the main diesel engines and was conducting a sea trial of it.

They were scheduled to be back out today – though we didn’t make it down to the water, so we didn’t see firsthand.

VIDEO: Seattle Fire ‘rescue swimmer’ demonstration off Alki

10:44 AM: If you’re anywhere near Alki and noticing the Guardian One helicopter over a Seattle Fire fireboat – it’s not a rescue, it’s a drill. This is part of a demonstration SFD has been putting on for us and the citywide media this past half-hour, showcasing the new SFD “rescue swimmer” program. Lots of photos, video, and info to come!

11:24 AM: The demonstration is over and we’re back at headquarters. SFD explains that this new program is meant to bridge the gap between a regular response and deployment of the Dive Team (which is based in SODO), but is not replacing any existing components or units – this is an addition, as explained by SFD Deputy Chief Ron Mondragon:

SFD says 38 firefighters are now trained as “rescue swimmers,” and the department’s goal is to have at least nine on duty in each 24-hour period, stationed around the city – not just deployed via certain stations. They’ve been in training, including with the help of partners such as West Pierce Fire and Rescue (south of Tacoma), and officially launched these new duties as of last Wednesday. Whenever there’s a water-rescue response, dispatchers will ensure that two rescue swimmers are part of the response. They can deploy from almost anywhere/anything – boats, beaches, piers, rocky shorelines, etc.

Their gear, which also was explained at the demonstration, includes a yellow “marker buoy” they can deploy to help divers that follow them into the water, if applicable.

This is a pilot program, SFD says, that will be evaluated after a year.

Meantime, besides emergencies, their planned upcoming assignments include Seafair weekend on Lake Washington, when four teams of two swimmers will be on duty.