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Seattle’s Wild Hot Tub Boats: Sightsee and Soak  | Frommer's Hot Tub Boats

Seattle’s Wild Hot Tub Boats: Sightsee and Soak

This month marks the 10th anniversary of an important moment in the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest: the launching of Seattle's Hot Tub Boats on February 16, 2012.

Designed and built by shipwright Adam Karpenske, these rentable vessels each have a six-person hot tub built right into the teak decking. While passengers soak in bubbling water kept warm by onboard heaters, electric motors send the boat put-putting across Lake Union at speeds up to 5 mph. There's a joystick on the boat's starboard side for steering. 

While cruising and steeping, renters get views of the Seattle skyline, houseboats, Gas Works Park, and seaplanes skimming the surface of the lake. 

(Credit: Hot Tub Boats)

Similar floating hot tubs can be rented in other waterfront destinations from San Diego to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where the tub aboard de HotTug is heated by a wood-burning stove. 

But Seattle lays claims to being the birthplace of this particular nautical innovation, thanks to Karpenske's Hot Tub Boats, all of which were handcrafted by a team of local artisans in the city's Ballard neighborhood.

Because the occupants of Hot Tub Boats stay warm (that's kind of the point), voyages launch from the company's dock in Westlake all year round, even in winter, when average temps in Seattle don't usually go above the 40s (Fahrenheit).

The water in the tubs, however, stays a steamy 104° F. (In the summertime, there's a thermostat for adjusting water temperature if you start to feel overheated.) 

(Credit: Hot Tub Boats)

A boat rental may be canceled due to severe weather involving stuff like harsh winds or hail, but for the most part, boats are available rain or shine. Since we're talking about Seattle, don't be surprised to encounter more rain than shine. 

A two-hour rental costs $441, which comes out to $73.50 per person for a group of six. To book, you need to be 21 or older and have a government-issued ID. A boating license is not required.

Available add-ons for the experience include Epsom salts and rose petals for therapeutic or romantic purposes, respectively. 

For more info or to make a reservation, go to