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2023 Holiday Boat Parades & Decorating Tips

2023 Holiday Boat Parades & Decorating Tips
Holiday decorated Prestige Yacht

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and for boaters, it simply wouldn’t be a celebration without a spectacular holiday boat parade. As Christmas and the New Year approach, waterways all across the United States burst into life with magnificent yachts and boats adorned and illuminated in the most festive fashion. Much like the traditional way of sprucing up your house for Christmas, if you happen to own a boat, this is another delightful avenue to spread the joy of the holiday season.

Quick Links: Holiday Boat Parades & Decorating Tips

View List of Parades | Decorating Tips | Safety Tips

What to Expect at a Holiday Boat Parade

Boat Parades are a fun way for boat owners to express their holiday spirit and ultimately a way to connect with their crew and thousands of spectators lining the route. Not to mention, it is a sight to see, and not just for onlookers. You can expect to see hundreds of boat owners participating every year, often trying to outdo other boats in a friendly competition of who can decorate the best.

Yachts of all types including express cruisers, center consoles, sportfishing yachts, and luxury motor yachts, partake in the fun. Some owners display carolers singing aboard; others prefer to blast Christmas music. Most importantly, everyone is having a great time. If you are new to yacht ownership and would like to participate in a holiday parade this year, we wanted to share tips and tricks to help your holiday display come alive.

Tips & Tricks: Decorating Your Boat For a Holiday Parade

Thanks to yacht broker Andrew Maryott, we have some tips for first-time yacht decorators that will help the process go smoother. First things first, start with a plan of what you want your yacht/boat to look like. What kind of holiday decorations, lights, and music do you want aboard? If you’re not sure, take a look at our Holiday Boat Parade Board on Pinterest.


Decor Options

There are many options for holiday decorating including stringed light décor, papier-mache sculptures, plant decorations, flags, and banners. For a more advanced method, attach lights to chicken wire to create words and images and then staple them to a wood frame. You can secure these using halyards, lines, blocks, and boat structures including, outriggers, masts, booms, and spinnaker poles.


Base Your Decorations Around Electrical Outlets

After you have the plan in place, you’re going to want to base everything around plugs. This tip is crucial and typically not thought of during the planning process. You also don’t want to overload the lights or the plug; using a surge protector is a good decision. Use the surge protector from two different outlets.


Buy New Christmas Lights

When you are ready to start the light decorating process, buying new lights is a safe route to take. The saltwater drastically reduces the life expectancy of Christmas lights, and the previous years’ lights may not work or won’t stay lit long after installation. Also, don’t forget to test all of your lights before you begin decorating your yacht. We recommend using shrink-wrap tape and zip ties to help secure the lights to your yacht. When finished, it’s a good idea to leave everything on for a couple of hours to confirm you are good to go.

Last but not least, float your work of art with pride and have a good time with your crew.

Important Safety Tips to Remember When Decorating Your Boat:

  • Try to avoid lights in front of the captain. It makes it very hard to see, especially with it being dark outside.
  • LEDs are preferred to minimize draw.
  • Follow Coast Guard requirements for safety matters.
  • Have a sufficient number of fire extinguishers that are updated and in working order
  • Don’t decorate in a way that will jeopardize a working crew. The crew has to be able to perform job tasks such as getting to dock lines.
  • Speak to a local marine electrician to ensure you have enough electrical power to sustain your decorations.
  • Ensure the weather is cooperative with large decorations. You don’t want to destabilize your boat.

  • 2023 List of Holiday Boat Parades

    If you’re excited about being a part of a holiday boat parade or simply want to witness the magic of a boat parade in your area, we’ve got you covered! Check out our list of the most incredible parade locations along the captivating gulf and pacific coasts. These delightful holiday boat parades are conveniently categorized by dates and presented in alphabetical order by city/county.

    Also, Galati Yacht Sales will take the spotlight as the lead boat in this year’s Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights at Marina Jack on December 9th. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness this spectacular event firsthand.
    Saturday, November 25, 2023

  • Jacksonville Light Boat Parade and fireworks on the St. Johns River – Florida
    Friday, December 1, 2023

  • Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade on the Anclote River- Florida
    Saturday, December 2, 2023

  • Alafia Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
  • Bradenton Beach Boat Parade – Anna Maria Island, Florida
  • Corpus Christi Illuminated Boat Parade – Texas
  • Cotee River Christmas Boat Parade on the Pithlachascotee River – Florida
  • Discovery Bay Lighted Boat Parade – California
  • Dunedin Boat Parade & Tree Lighting – Florida
  • Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
  • Lake Weir Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
  • Long Beach Christmas Parade – California
  • Mount Dora Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
  • Palm Beach and Jupiter Boat Parade – Florida
  • Palm Valley Boat Parade – Intracoastal Waterway – Florida
  • Santa Cruz Lighted Boat Parade – California
  • South Padre Island Lighted Boat Parade – Texas
  • Venice Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
    Sunday, December 3, 2023

  • Leesburg Christmas on the Water – Florida
    Friday, December 8, 2023

  • Boynton Beach/Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
  • Cocoa Village Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
  • Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights ( December 8, 9 and 10) – California
  • Seattle Argosy Cruise’s 8th Annual Parade of Boats – Washington
  • South Pasadena’s Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
    Saturday, December 9, 2023

  • Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s Holiday Boat Parade in Gulfport – Florida
  • Boot Key Harbor Christmas Parade, Marathon – Florida
  • Cape Coral NW Boat Parade – Florida
  • Carabelle Boat Parade of Lights – Florida
  • Clearwater Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
  • Cocoa Beach Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
  • Dana Point Boat Parade – California
  • Gulf Shores Lighted Boat Parade – Alabama
  • Huntington Harbour Boat Parade (9-10)- California
  • Kemah Christmas Boat Parade – Texas
  • Key Largo Boat Parade – Florida
  • Key West Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
  • La Conner Lighted Christmas Boat Parade – Washington
  • Madeira Beach 56th Annual Festival of Lights Illuminated Boat Parade – Florida
  • Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade in Bradenton – Florida
  • Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade – California
  • Mission Bay Parade of Lights – San Diego, California
  • Naples Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
  • New Smyrna Beach Boat Parade – Florida
  • Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights – Florida 
  • St. Lucie County Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
  • Swinomish Channel Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – Washington
    Sunday, December 10, 2023

  • Destin Harbor Lights Boat Parade – Florida
  • Huntington Harbour Boat Parade – California
  • Redington Beach and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
  • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights – California
  • Santa Barbara Parade of Lights – California
    Friday, December 15, 2023

  • Lake Osborne Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
  • Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights – California
  • Pompano Beach/Lighthouse Point Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
  • Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights & Fireworks – California
    Saturday, December 16, 2023

  • Boca Raton Boat Parade – Florida
  • Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
  • Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade – Florida
  • Marco Island Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
  • Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights – California
  • Seattle Christmas Boat Parade – Washington
  • Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
  • Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights & Fireworks – California
    Sunday, December 17,  2023

  • Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights – California
  • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights – California
    Saturday, December 23, 2023

  • Punta Gorda Boat Parade – Florida
  • Tampa Riverwalk Lighted Boat Parade – Florida

  • Shop Yachts and Boats For Sale Worldwide

    Discover the perfect boat for your holiday adventures with our expertise and extensive resources. With over five decades of experience, a network of 14 locations, and a dedicated team of over 200 professionals, we have the knowledge and inventory to help you find the finest yachts for sale worldwide. Whether you’re searching for brand new yachts or pre-owned boats, Galati Yacht Sales is here to assist you. Reach out to our certified yacht brokers today and let us guide you towards your dream boat.


    Christmas Boat Parade List Courtesy of  FL Rambler.
    Events are subject to change. Check with your local news source for confirmation.

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