Scene in Edmonds: Harbor seal rescue attempt at Brackett’s Landing


Doug Parrott took photographs of a harbor seal rescue attempt at Brackett’s Landing Thursday morning, and provided us with a summary below:

The seal appeared to have eye injuries.
The seal appeared to have eye injuries.

This morning (9/24/15) I went to Bracketts Landing to take some scenic photos. When I arrived the Edmonds police were there, along with the Edmonds Seal Sitters. Apparently there was an an injured Harbor Seal that appeared to be attempting to beach itself; too many people in the area, not intentionally, were preventing that from happening.

Officials strategize a rescue attempt
Officials strategize a rescue attempt

The police and seal sitters cleared the beach so the seal could land. The police notified wildlife personnel (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA — and a veterinarian) for advice and assistance. The wildlife personnel arrived and, with the police, began assessing the situation to figure out a seal rescue attempt.

The rescue team on its way.
The rescue team on its way.

The local fire department was contacted and they sent out a rescue boat to assist in the attempt. The rescue boat, along with the veterinarian and the NOAA personnel, made several attempts to rescue the seal but every time the seal was approached it would dive and vanish.

A rescue attempt by fire boat. The seal was just below the boat.
A rescue attempt by fire boat. The seal was just below the boat.

After several attempts, the harbor seal couldn’t be relocated and the search ended.

I was very impressed with the local authorities’ attempt to rescue this injured animal. I was also impressed with the local citizens who were very respectful of the situation and did not attempt to approach the animal when it was close to shore. They also kept a respectful distance from the team attempting the rescue.

Here’s hoping the seal survives, and a big thank you to all those involved in the rescue attempt.

— Doug Parrott

Editor’s note: NOAA says that any additional sightings of the seal can be reported to the NOAA hotline at 1-866-767-6114.



  1. When this adult harbor seal was first sighted on Olympic Beach just after 8:00 Thursday morning it was obvious it had suffered some sort of injury, possibly from a “seal bomb”. These are noisemakers similar to M-80 firecrackers used to scare seals away from fishing gear. A volunteer veterinarian team from the Seattle Aquarium was going to examine the seal, but the animal was too wary and too skittish to be caught.

    So many folks helped during this episode: Washington State Ferry employees phoned us with the seal sighting, the Aquarium vets drove in from Seattle, City of Edmonds Fire and Police personnel spent hours on the scene, and NOAA staff were invaluable with their expertise. These are terrific people doing terrific work.

    If this injured seal returns to the Edmonds waterfront you can call our hotline:

    Edmonds Seal Sitters

    Susan Morrow


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