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Tuesday, November 07, 2006 

Seacrest Park – What’s the Bigger Picture?

Originally uploaded by Pixel Letch.
The installation of the rope barrier and cove buoys have finally been completed in Seacrest Park in West Seattle after years of delays due to the permitting process. While that long process was frustrating, it does have a bigger meaning in my opinion.

In year’s past when the city brought in the Water Taxi or made policy decisions regarding park use they didn’t consult the dive community. That changed when they were going to make a 300’ no-diving area around the pier and effectively block access to Cove 2. The dive community, usually polarized came together and made themselves heard, due to the efforts of JD Roe and others. We formed some groups and began talking with the city about how we could continue to use the park. From that came the idea of the rope barrier and buoy system.

Without divers respecting these boundaries, we would not have the access to the park that we continue to enjoy today. We also asked for a rinse shower and installation of benches in the restroom while the iron was hot and they were put in.

The white dive buoys are about the closest thing we could legally install as a “permanent dive flag” as divers use the coves nearly 360/24/7. BUT they should not be confused with proper dive flag usage – dive flags are still required. Use the white buoys to tie your flags to and use as down lines; they are in about 40-60’ of water.

Getting back to the bigger picture I alluded to? By going through the formal permit process we have made all the applicable bodies; State DNR, Army Corp of Engineers, US Coast Guard, and the City of Seattle formally recognize the park and coves as official dive areas. That is a sea change in policy and an important “moral” victory for the dive community that may weigh heavily in our favor in years to come.

Others and myself are continuing efforts in behalf of divers to ask the city for additional site improvements, access and facilities. I feel that we have done our share of “Quid pro” and now it’s our turn for some “Quo”! Some will cost something, some are policy and access issues that won’t. Dollars are very tight, but we have been offered some donations and will try to push some ideas forward. It’s a slow process, but one I take a good deal of satisfaction from.

What can you do? We will continue to have work parties to maintain the buoys and rope barrier system. Most importantly, we need divers, and particularly classes, to please be good neighbors; it greatly affects our relationship with the city and makes negotiations much easier for future improvements.

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  • Adventurer, diver, sailor, photographer, writer and sometimes graphic designer. Proprietor of Optical Ocean Sales, LLC. Enjoy the blog, check back and please leave comments!
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