Looking for an exhilarating way to ring in the new year this weekend? Join the Seattle Polar Bear Plunge! After a two-year hiatus, this beloved Seattle tradition is returning. The Seattle Polar Bear Plunge will take place at Matthews Beach at noon this Sunday, January 1, 2023. You can register for the plunge the day-of starting at 10:00 a.m. but there’s some important information you’ll want to keep in mind if you plan to participate.
Read on for all the essential details!
Although the plunge starts exactly at noon, you’ll want to arrive early since registration begins at 10:00 a.m. In the time between registration and the plunge, the crowd can enjoy food trucks, music, a photo booth, and games. There will also be hot refreshments being served. If you’d like a memento of the day, you’ll be able to purchase a T-shirt or sweatshirt.
Prior to the plunge, you’ll want to keep in mind some important safety tips provided by Seattle Parks and Recreation:
- Consult your doctor first if you have heart problems or other medical issues.
- The maximum amount of time you should stay in the water is 15 minutes.
- Don’t drink alcohol, as it can accelerate hypothermia.
- Stay fully dressed right up until it’s time for the plunge; and afterwards, change into dry clothes right away.
If you’d like, participants are encouraged to show up dressed in a costume. More importantly, make sure you have plenty of dry clothes to change into after the plunge.
Immediately before the main plunge at 11:45 a.m., there will be a Polar Bear Cub Plunge for younger participants and anyone who would like more space. If you’d like to participate in both plunges, you are welcome to (or as Seattle Parks and Recreation puts it, “For the truly hearty, double-dipping is allowed”).
If you manage to immerse yourself neck-deep in the cold water, you will be awarded a 2023 Commemorative Badge of Courage to provide proof along with your bragging rights.
The Seattle Polar Bear Plunge tradition was started in 2003 by Janet Wilson, the Aquatic Center Coordinator at Meadowbrook Pool. There were around 300 brave Seattleites participating in that very first New Year’s Day plunge. Now, it’s common for there to be around 2,000 people participating in the plunge! If that sounds like too many people for your taste, remember that you have the option of participating in the smaller, kid-friendly plunge that happens first. Personally, we think we’d need to be carried along by the crowd in order to actually make it into the cold water!
For more info, you can visit the Seattle Parks and Recreation website.
Seattle Polar Bear Plunge 2023
When: Sunday, January 1
Where: Matthews Beach, 9300 51st Ave. NE