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Shhh! Seattle City Council cracks down on noisy boaters

The waters off Seattle’s Seward Park on Lake Washington are a popular place for boaters to crank the tunes. And after plenty of complaints from residents of the area, the Seattle City Council is taking steps to turn down the volume.

The council voted unanimously Monday to approve a new noise ordinance that makes it illegal to play music from a boat if it can be heard 300 feet away.

In the past, the Seattle Police Department’s Harbor Patrol couldn’t do much about the complaints because there was no law in place. Now, they’ll have the power to issue a citation if boaters get too loud.

Harbor Patrol officers will be outfitted with audio monitors. They’ll also be able to write tickets if boaters crank the tunes louder than 74 decibels.

The measure, which will take effect 30 days after signed into law by the mayor, follows a similar move by the city of Kirkland. The council there voted in early June to prohibit music and other noise from boats that can be heard from more than 300 feet away.

Residents of the Seward Park area say there’s been a big increase in boaters tying together and turning up their music since the Kirkland ordinance passed.

“It’s a fairly modest action that we’re taking,” Councilman Richard Conlin told KOMO TV last week. “Nobody wants to stop boating, nobody wants to stop people from having parties. Just turn the music down when it’s getting too loud.”

About the Author

Josh Kerns

Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He covers everything from May Day riots in Seattle to the latest Boeing news. Email Josh at


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