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Proposed Rule

Modification to Special Local Regulation (SLR) for Seattle Seafair Unlimited Hydroplane Race

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Start Preamble


Coast Guard, DOT.


Notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Coast Guard proposes to update the Seafair Special Local Regulation (SLR) to enhance the safe execution of Seafair's hydroplane and air show event. The proposed rule adds one week to the time period within which the regulations of the SLR can become effective each year and adds restrictions on swimming and rafting within the regulated areas.


Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before June 5, 2001.


You may mail comments and related material to Commander, Thirteenth Coast Guard District (m), Jackson Federal Building, 915 Second Avenue, Room 3506, Seattle, WA, 98174-1067. The Thirteenth Coast Guard District maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents, indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at the Marine Safety Division, 35th floor, Thirteenth Coast Guard District, Seattle, Washington between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Start Further Info


Lieutenant Commander Jane Wong, either at the above address, or by phone at (206) 220-7224.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (CGD 13-01-004), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. Please submit all comments and related material in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you would like to know they reached us, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.

Public Meeting

We do not plan to hold a public meeting. However, you may submit a request for a meeting by writing to the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section, or to the address under ADDRESSES explaining why a public meeting would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

For more than 50 years the Seafair hydroplane races and air show on and over Lake Washington have been a Pacific Northwest tradition, entertaining millions of people over that period. However, these entertaining events involve risks to both spectators and participants. During the hydroplane races and air show, the marine congestion associated with the number of boats, swimmers, and spectators on shore challenges even the most experienced seaman. There is an inherent risk of a participating boat or plane losing control or crashing. This potentially violent and deadly scenario necessitates the maintenance of a regulated area to protect spectators while providing unobstructed vessel traffic lanes to ensure timely arrival of emergency response craft.

The current Seafair SLR contained in 33 CFR 100.1301 has been in effect since 1986 and allows the regulations to be effective within a two-week time period.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed rule makes several editorial changes to clarify the Seafair SLR and increase the readability of the rule with the activities regulated in each zone being more clearly identified.

There are also several modifications to the existing rule that the Coast Guard believes will increase the safety and efficiency of the event. The current SLR is only in effect during the last week of July and the first week of August. The dates for Seafair change slightly on an annual basis and could fall outside the effective dates of the current SLR. The Start Printed Page 18220proposed rule expands the time when regulations can be in effect by one week to ensure that the regulation is in effect during Seafair. The expanded time period will allow for flexibility to change the date of Seafair. The dates and times when the regulations are implemented during the three-week timeframe of the rule will be published as a notice of implementation in the Local Notice to Mariners.

The current SLR does not sufficiently address swimmers and rafting of vessels. Over the years, some of the most severe injuries that have occurred on the water have been caused by boats running over swimmers. The proposed rule contains new constraints for swimmers to ensure persons either stay out of the water or within 10 feet of any vessel during heavy vessel traffic periods when the risk of injury is greatest. The proposed rule also includes guidelines for rafted vessels. Large numbers of vessels rafting can increase emergency response time and result in hazardous waterway congestion. In addition, rafting significantly exacerbates an emergency condition such as a vessel on fire or taking on water. Rafting to a log boom will be limited to groups of three (3) vessels, while drifting and anchored vessels away from the log boom will be limited to groups of six (6) vessels. These rules will allow emergency response vessels to move more effectively within the congested regulated area and reduce the exposure of vessels to dangerous situations.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not significant under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 FR 11040, February 26, 1979).

We expect any economic impact as a result of this proposed regulation to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under paragraph 10(e) of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is unnecessary. This change slightly modifies existing safety regulations, and should not effect the economic activities of any Seafair participant or spectator.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

(1) Small entities this rule may affect include owners and operators of vessels, including small passenger vessels, intending to transit or anchor in a portion of Lake Washington during the event.

(2) This regulation will not have a significant economic impact on these small entities because there will be no substantial change from the way vessel operations have been running in years past. Because these regulations are aimed at recreational vessels, commercial vessels will not impacted.

If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact LT P.M. Stocklin, Jr. at Marine Safety Office Puget Sound, Waterways Management Branch, (206) 217-6237.

Collection of Information

This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.).


We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and have determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism under that Order.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) governs the issuance of Federal regulations that require unfunded mandates. An unfunded mandate is a regulation that requires a State, local, or tribal government or the private sector to incur direct costs without the Federal Government's having first provided the funds to pay those costs. This proposed rule would not impose an unfunded mandate.

Taking of Private Property

This proposed rule would not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not concern an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.


We considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(h), of Commandant Instruction M16475.lC, this proposed rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. This rule makes minor changes to the existing rule.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 100

  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and record keeping requirements
  • Waterways
End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 100 as follows:

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1. The authority citation for part 100 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1233 through 1236; 49 CFR 1.46; 33 CFR 100.35.

End Authority

2. Revise § 100.1301 to read as follows:

Start Printed Page 18221
Seattle Seafair Unlimited Hydroplane Race.

(a) This regulation will be in effect annually during the last week in July and the first two weeks of August from 8 a.m until 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, as published in the Local Notice of Mariners. The event will be one week or less in duration. The specific dates during this time frame will be published in the Local Notice to Mariners.

(b) The area where the Coast Guard will restrict general navigation by this regulation during the hours it is in effect is: The waters of Lake Washington bounded by the Interstate 90 (Mercer Island/Lacey V. Murrow) Bridge, the western shore of Lake Washington, and the east/west line drawn tangent to Bailey Peninsula and along the shoreline of Mercer Island.

(c) The area described in paragraph (b) of this section has been divided into two zones. The zones are separated by a line perpendicular from the I-90 Bridge to the northwest corner of the East log boom and a line extending from the southeast corner of the East log boom to the southeast corner of the hydroplane race course and then to the northerly tip of Ohlers Island in Andrews Bay. The western zone is designated Zone I, the eastern zone, Zone II. (Refer to NOAA Chart 18447).

(d) The Coast Guard will maintain a patrol consisting of Coast Guard vessels, assisted by Auxiliary Coast Guard vessels, in Zone II. The Coast Guard patrol of this area is under the direction of the Coast Guard Patrol Commander (the “Patrol Commander”). The Patrol Commander is empowered to control the movement of vessels on the racecourse and in the adjoining waters during the periods this regulation is in effect. The Patrol Commander may be assisted by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

(e) Only authorized vessels may be allowed to enter Zone I during the hours this regulation is in effect. Vessels in the vicinity of Zone I shall maneuver and anchor as directed by Coast Guard Officers or Petty Officers.

(f) During the times in which the regulation is in effect, swimming, wading, or otherwise entering the water in Zone I by any person is prohibited while hydroplane boats are on the racecourse. At other times in Zone I, any person entering the water from the shoreline shall remain west of the swim line, denoted by buoys, and any person entering the water from the log boom shall remain within ten (10) feet of the log boom.

(g) During the times in which the regulation is in effect, any person swimming or otherwise entering the water in Zone II shall remain within ten (10) feet of a vessel.

(h) During the times this regulation is in effect, rafting to a log boom will be limited to groups of three vessels.

(i) During the times this regulation is in effect, up to six (6) vessels may raft together in Zone II if none of the vessels are secured to a log boom.

(j) During the times this regulation is in effect, only vessels authorized by the Patrol Commander, other law enforcement agencies or event sponsors shall be permitted to tow other watercraft or inflatable devices.

(k) Vessels proceeding in either Zone I or Zone II during the hours this regulation is in effect shall do so only at speeds which will create minimum wake, seven (07) miles per hour or less. This maximum speed may be reduced at the discretion of the Patrol Commander.

(l) Upon completion of the daily racing activities, all vessels leaving either Zone I or Zone II shall proceed at speeds of seven (07) miles per hour or less. The maximum speed may be reduced at the discretion of the Patrol Commander.

(m) A succession of sharp, short signals by whistle or horn from vessels patrolling the areas under the direction of the Patrol Commander shall serve as signal to stop. Vessels signaled shall stop and shall comply with the orders of the patrol vessel; failure to do so may result in expulsion from the area, citation for failure to comply, or both. The Coast Guard may be assisted by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as official Seafair event craft.

Start Signature

Dated March 1, 2001.

E.M. Brown,

Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Thirteenth District.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-8446 Filed 4-5-01; 8:45 am]