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  • 2022 Holiday Boat Parades & Decorating Tips

    2022 Holiday Boat Parades & Decorating Tips

    By: | Date: November 28, 2022

    The holiday season has arrived, and for boaters, it wouldn’t be a celebration without a holiday boat parade. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, waterways all over the US come alive with festive yachts and boats decorated and illuminated for all to see. Much like the old traditional way of decorating your house for Christmas, if you own a boat, this is another way to spread holiday cheer.

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    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 your 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.

    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.

    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.

    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:

    • 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.

    2022 List of Holiday Boat Parades

    If you’re planning to partake in a holiday boat parade or want to see a boat parade in your area, take a look at our list of top parade locations along the gulf and pacific coasts. Holiday boat parades are categorized by dates and in alphabetical order by city/county.


    Saturday, November 26, 2022

    • Jacksonville Light Boat Parade and fireworks on the St. Johns River – Florida


    Friday, December 2, 2022

    • Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade – Florida


    Saturday, December 3, 2022

    • Alafia Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
    • Anacortes Lighted Boat Parade – Washington
    • Bradenton Beach Boat Parade – Anna Maria Island, Florida
    • Corpus Christi Illuminated Boat Parade – Texas
    • Cotee River Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
    • Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
    • Dunedin Boat Parade & Tree Lighting – Florida
    • Lake Weir Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
    • Long Beach Christmas Parade – California
    • Mount Dora Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
    • New Smyrna Beach 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 4, 2022

    • Leesburg Christmas on the Water – Florida


    Friday, December 9, 2022

    • Boynton Beach/Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
    • Cocoa Village Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
    • Dana Point Boat Parade – California
    • Pompano Beach/Lighthouse Point Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
    • Seattle Argosy Cruise’s 7th Annual Parade of Boats – Washington
    • South Pasadena’s Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
    • Cancelled: Tomoka River Christmas Boat Parade – Florida


    Saturday, December 10, 2022

    • Augustine Holiday Regatta of Lights – Florida
    • Bonita Springs Boat Parade – Florida
    • Boot Key Harbor Christmas Parade (Unconfirmed) – Florida
    • Cape Coral NW Boat Parade – Florida
    • Carabelle Boat Parade of Lights – Florida
    • Clearwater Yacht Club Boat Parade – Florida
    • Cocoa Beach Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
    • Dana Point Boat Parade – California
    • Discovery Bay Lighted Boat Parade – California
    • Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade – Florida
    • Gulf Shores Lighted Boat Parade – Alabama
    • Huntington Harbour Boat Parade – 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
    • Long Beach Naples Islands Christmas Boat Parade – California
    • Lucie County Boat Parade (Unconfirmed) – Florida
    • 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
    • Martin County Boat Parade (Unconfirmed) – Florida
    • Mission Bay Parade of Lights – San Diego, California
    • Naples Christmas Boat Parade – Florida
    • Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights – Florida
    • South Shore Harbor Christmas Boat Lane Parade – League City, Texas
    • Steinhatchee Light Up The River Boat Parade – Florida
    • Swinomish Channel Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – Washington


    Sunday, December 11, 2022

    • Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
    • Destin Harbor Lights Boat Parade – Florida
    • Huntington Harbour Boat Parade – California
    • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights – California
    • Santa Barbara Parade of Lights – California


    Friday, December 16, 2022

    • Lake Osborne Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
    • San Francisco Decorated Boat Parade – California
    • Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights & Fireworks – California


    Saturday, December 17, 2022

    • Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s Holiday Boat Parade in Gulfport – Florida
    • Boca Raton Boat Parade – Florida
    • Punta Gorda Boat Parade – Florida
    • Seattle Christmas Boat Parade – Washington
    • Tampa Riverwalk Lighted Boat Parade – Florida
    • Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
    • Turkey Creek Christmas Boat Parade in Palm Bay – Florida
    • Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights & Fireworks – California


    Sunday, December 18,  2022

    • Redington Beach and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade – Florida
    • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights – California


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    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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