Hundreds of “kayaktivists” join flotilla in Elliott Bay to protest Shell’s arctic drilling rig in Seattle’s port

Under grey skies and on calm waters, hundreds of activists in kayaks paddled alongside Indigenous canoe families, sailboats of all sizes, paddle boards, inflatable boats, and other small watercraft to protest Shell’s Polar Pioneer, currently moored at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5.

As kayaktivists began to arrive, boats were lined up and wetsuits donned. After a few last minute instructions and reminders about safety zones and kayaking tips, kayaks and canoes were launched. As hundreds of kayaks linked together in a flotilla, a path was made for the West Seattle Water Taxi and a watchful eye was kept by both Seattle Police, Seattle Fire Department, and the Coast Guard. A barge was set up with amplified sound and enough solar panels to power a large house, as a program was held on the water by native speakers and singers.

Native canoe families led the flotilla to the mouth of the Duwamish River, where ring of small watercraft was formed outside the 100 yard safety zone and activists chanted and sang songs of protest, as a large banner was unfurled and floated across the mouth of the river in front of the rig. The floating protestors formed around the Indigenous canoes to hear speakers discuss the threats facing native communities due to climate change.

Kayaktivists then followed the native canoes as permission was asked and granted to beach their canoes and walk on Duwamish land. A program with music and speakers followed soon at Jack Block Park. More events are planned in the next few days.

From the ShellNo Flotilla ~ Paddle in Seattle! Facebook event page

“Join our fun family-friendly flotilla on the water around Shell’s GIANT oil rigs.

Come together with thousands of others who give a damn, for an adventurous afternoon full of music, art, and entertainment.

There will also be tons of fun and colorful flair happening at Jack Block Park. Because We LOVE landlubbers!

10AM – Kayak Check-In and registration begins
11-12:30 Launch Boats
1PM – On water procession begins
2PM – On-stage program begins at Jack Block Park: 2130 Harbor Ave SW
3:30PM – On-stage program ends and all vessels return to launch sites.

Note: All Kayak Rentals have been reserved. Please come prepared to bring your own boat. If you have an extra boat please bring it as we will have a tent set up for folks to meet and borrow boats.

Kayak instructors will help orient individuals with limited experience. We’ll have trained safety coordinators out on the water keeping kayaktivists safe.

And if you would like to help before, during, or after the event, let us know here:

PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY. We encourage public transit. Traffic will be very congested and may take 30-45min longer than normal. There will also be a free shuttle from the West Seattle Junction (see map below on the timeline for location and schedule)

See more info and map of locations here:

If you’re a landlubber you can take part in the festivities at Jack Block park at 2130 Harbor Ave SW.

This is the event page for the first day of our three-day Festival of Resistance to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans! This festival will take place on May 16, 17, and 18.

Find out more at

From the Idle No More ~ From the Arctic to the Salish Sea Facebook event page

“…In solidarity with our Alaskan brothers and sisters in the Arctic, and all the Coast Salish tribes who are the original stewards of the Salish Sea we come together in a good way to unify in Spirit for prayer, ceremony, and songs to bring a peaceful resolution to preserve and protect the Arctic from the proposed drilling by Shell.

We invite all our Native brothers and sisters to join us in support of not allowing Royal Dutch Shell to use the Port of Seattle Terminal #5 for their drilling rigs, stopping the drilling in the Arctic, and how could we instead support sustainable energy sources. We must ask how can we support Alaska Natives in finding other sources of revenue and work that is not devastating to their traditional way of life, contribute to climate change, and rising sea levels…”

One thought on “Hundreds of “kayaktivists” join flotilla in Elliott Bay to protest Shell’s arctic drilling rig in Seattle’s port

  1. Pingback: sHell No to Arctic Oil Drilling: Protests in Seattle! | Civil Liberties Defense Center

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