Plunge into the New Year with the Polar Bear Plunge

Kick off the new year with a cool tradition—a refreshing plunge into invigorating Puget Sound!

Jump into the water with other jubilant merrymakers at the Polar Bear Plunge on January 1 at Point Defiance Marina.


Trade your winter coat for a swimsuit and go knee high, waist deep or take the full plunge! The Cub Plunge, for youth under 10 years of age, begins at 11:30 am, followed by an Adult/Family Plunge at noon. Costumes are welcome but not required.


The event is free and takes place rain or shine at the Point Defiance boat launch, located at 5912 N. Waterfront Drive in Point Defiance Park. Daring folks who jump in can warm up afterwards in front of heaters while sipping free hot drinks.


In addition to a year’s worth of bragging rights, participants will receive a Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium coupon good for $3 off general admission. Commemorative t-shirts will be available for purchase.


Polar Bear Plunge proved to be wildly popular last year. Those brave enough to jump into Puget Sound ranged from small children to the more mature, from costumed to fully clothed. A bridal-gown-wearing participant took the plunge with complete gusto, much to the delight of the cheering crowd!


Extend the fun and warm up before the Polar Bear Plunge by participating in First Run, a newly created fun run that features a flat, fast one-mile run/walk near the Point Defiance Marina. First Run is free and begins at 11 am, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the Polar Bear Plunge afterwards. No registration is necessary to participate in the First Run.


Point Defiance Marina has anchored the northeast side of Point Defiance Park since 1944, when it replaced the original boathouse pavilion of the early 1900s. While down at the waterfront stop by to browse the gift shop, rent a boat or sign up for a boating or fishing class. For more information visit or call (253) 591-5325.


Healthy plunge guidelines:

  • Anyone with a history of heart problems should talk to their healthcare provider before participating in the Polar Bear Plunge.
  • Stay away from alcohol. Alcohol does not warm you up, it accelerates hypothermia.
  • Don’t stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in the water than in air. Puget Sound water temperature is around 45 degrees this time of year.
  • To keep warm—wait until immediately before entering the water to remove any extra clothing worn over your swimsuit or plunge outfit.

Other Info:

  • Don’t forget to bring dry clothes and a towel.
  • Service animals only are allowed in the water with participants, all other animals must stay on shore.