Hot tubs are the hottest way to explore Seattle this season

April showers bring May flowers, but what does June mean to Seattleites? The rain has (finally?) receded, the cherry trees have blossomed and the lake is calling your name. There are many ways to enjoy the water, whether you enjoy the social activity around Green Lake or the vast expanse of Lake Washington. Some prefer to go kayaking or pedal boating. Others navigate the water in electric boats rented with friends.

But they’re all amateurs because the elevated hangs take place on Lake Union and look like THIS: a sleek 16-foot teak boat that glides through the water, operated by a mannequin-friendly joystick while you and your friends bathe in a hot tub that spins at 104 degrees throughout your two-hour evening . This is exactly what the aptly named company Whirlpool boats offers, and for now, it’s an exclusive perk of living in the Emerald City.

“There’s no other major metropolitan city in the country, or anywhere else that I can think of, that has anything like Lake Union as a resource,” said Hot Tub Boats founder Adam Karpenske. “People can really get out and enjoy the lake. And it’s protected. And it’s right in the middle of our town. There’s nowhere else that really has that.”

Born in the winter of 2011, Hot Tub Boats was at first just an idea, originally from Illinois, that Karpenske had on the lake during a particularly cold and rainy day. As a wooden boat builder by trade – (“A slash shipwright shipwright, we don’t know what to call ourselves.”) – Karpenske knew this was within the realm of possibility and his abilities to bring life to something so outrageously fun, so ridiculously promotable, and so undeniably perfect for cold PNW winters that it was worth it. He quickly got to work, but creating a boat that could perform all of its functions, such as staying afloat and moving through water, while housing a full-scale tub of water and its warming mechanism was no was not a disposable task.

“When we designed it, it was loosely based on an old WWII-era army electric barge that was used to haul logs between Alaska and Seattle to build things for war. “, said Karpenske. “We made it a little prettier, but we knew the boat could carry a lot of stuff. We built it in stages. Let’s build the hull. Put it in the water. Make sure the center of buoyancy is where we thought. up a tub and pull it up to make sure the water doesn’t go all over the place. There were these test points, and, in the end, we somehow so hit a home run.

To keep the tub at “what the feds say is the max, 104 degrees,” Karpenske used “magic…no, not really.” The Hot Tub Boats founder discovered that diesel boilers and a circulation system would keep the temperature high, even “in the rain, in the winter, in the wind with six people in it”. And the boats, while drawn from a historic design for practical use, are aesthetically modern and totally appealing to our post-influencer eye: retro, minimalist, and sufficiently elegant.

Located at 2520 Westlake Ave N. in a former boathouse adorned with colorful murals by local artists, softened by its various staff-tended houseplants, and featuring a handcrafted floating cabin at its heart, the Hot Tub Boat facility on Lake Union contains all the necessities for before and after the hot tub: changing room, restrooms, storage lockers, and outdoor hot showers.

Another feature that differentiates whirlpools from other electric boats that race around Lake Union is its steering mechanism, which operates with a joystick versus a traditional wheel. It was by very specific design and has a triple purpose.

“We didn’t want a big console in front of anybody,” Karpenske said. “You want to feel like you’re just sitting in a hot tub. The other side of that is that it’s cool! This boat drives with a joystick! The third part of that is that people don’t have to be a boater to be It’s a much fairer way to get people on the water It’s an odd mix between kind of luxury and kinda affordable for people. anyone can drive it.

However, renting a boat is not cheap. To “soak up the sea,” it’ll cost you just under $450 for the two-hour rental, which includes access to property amenities before and after your booking and time spent on the water to explore attractions such as Gas Works Park, the downtown Seattle skyline, and the many eclectic houseboats that dock along the perimeter of the lake. The tub can accommodate a maximum of six people, and you can schedule a trip to watch the sunset or relax after a morning hike. That’s the beauty of Seattle in the summer. Everyone is out and about to embark on a new adventure.

For now, it’s the only Hot Tub Boats location, though Karpenske said he’d like to bring the joy of soaking to other cities. It’s easy to forget how idyllic Seattle sits on a sprawling, protected waterfront that offers endless and ever-changing activities for its sun-seeking residents. Although it’s his bread and butter, Karpenske summed up Hot Tub Boats perfectly: “It’s a silly thing the world doesn’t need, but they really seem to like it.”

Learn more about hot tubs here.

Earnest A. Martinez