Grilling dogs in a parking lot? That’s for landlubbers. As many local Huskies fans know, one of the great football season traditions at the University of Washington is “sailgating.” For each home game, dozens of boats dock near the stadium at Husky Harbor for a giant, floating shindig. 🎉
The whole thing started not long after Husky Stadium first opened about 100 years ago. Since the venue was located so close to Union Bay, fans could sail over and park their boats near the end zone. Eventually, docks were built and members of the UW rowing team would shuttle folks back + forth to the game. 🛶
Over the years, sailgates have gotten more elaborate (think satellite hookups + boozy slushie machines), but the spirit remains the same.
UW kicks off its season this Sat., Sept 3 against Kent State at home — here’s how to join the splash bash.
⚓ Float your own boat
If you want to dock near the stadium, get on the long waitlist for a moorage permit. Impatient types can still sailgate in the bay without the permit — but if you want to actually go to the game, you’ll have to flag down a UW shuttle boat to take you from your vessel to the docks near the stadium. It’s free one way — return trips cost $10 per person.
Pro tip: Grab those floating shuttles at least an hour before kickoff since they get really busy. Then hustle later on — they run for one hour after the game’s over.
🛳️ Cruise on down
Don’t have a boat of your own? There are several local companies that run charters to the stadium, including:
- Chinook’s Dawg Boat | Departs from Fisherman’s Terminal | $55 | Includes drink service, raffle prizes, trivia + guest emcees
- Waterways Cruises and Events | Departs from Lake Union Piers | $70+ | Includes a BBQ menu, one drink ticket for beer or wine, and a one-hour cruise with tour guide
- Seattle Charters | Departs from Lake Union Piers | $1,600+ | A full-day, luxury yacht experience for groups with gourmet food + drinks
🐺 Team preview
Bay soirees are fun + all, but there’s also football to be played. So if you’re really there for the sport of it, this is what you can expect from UW as it looks to rebound under new leadership.
- Head coach: Kalen DeBoer
- Last season’s record: 4 wins, 8 losses
- Key early games: away vs. Michigan State (Sat., Sept. 17), home vs. Stanford (Sat., Sept. 24); away vs. UCLA (Fri., Sept. 30)
- Key players: Michael Penix Jr. (Quarterback), Cam Bright (Linebacker)
- Rival: Washington State — the Apple Cup is Sat., Nov. 26 in Pullman
- Predictions: Several experts said the Huskies could become eligible for a bowl game
For those who really want to dive deeper about the team, here’s a hot topic: Could the Huskies be on the move? The college football conferences are undergoing major reshuffling, so keep an eye out for talk that the Huskies could leave the Pac-12 for the Big 10, where championship-level teams like Michigan + Ohio State play.