Thank you for entering The 60th Annual Holiday Boat Parade. Please find all information necessary to compete in the Boat Parade.


Saturday, Dec. 10th, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Same day entrants 8:30 AM

Burton Chace Park Community Center (West Plaza Area)
13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Please make sure to download the Skippers Meeting Package.

  • Parade instructions and line-up procedures discussed
  • Two (2) assigned numbers for your vessel will be given to each entrant.

Light breakfast will be provided.

Please send us YOUR BOAT THEME and YOUR BOAT DESCRIPTION if you didn’t fill out when you registered online by December 9th at Email: or Fax 310.822.9468. Our announcers and media folks need info on your boat.

A MANDATORY Parade Skipper’s meeting will be held on Saturday, December 10th, at 9:00 a.m. at the Burton Chace Park Community Center at 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. PLEASE NOTE each entrant will receive two (2) ID numbers for placement on your vessel. Numbers need to be returned at the Awards Ceremony on Sunday. Each entrant will receive by mail a complimentary 4 x 6 color photo of your boat. Please follow the guidelines enclosed for lighting and placement of numbers so we can identify and photograph your entry. Additional photos may be purchased through our Parade office.

In order to recognize the extraordinary work you have done on decorating your boat, photo slide presentation and awards will be presented at an Awards Ceremony on Saturday, December 10th, from 9:00 pm at Killer Shrimp, 4211 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. Two free entries to the Awards Ceremony are awarded to each entrant. Additional entries may be purchased at the door for $10.00 each. Free parking is available.

We look forward to having a wonderful Holiday Boat Parade. Please call the Parade hotline at 310.670.7130 for additional information or visit the Boat Parade website at Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you,

Diane Barretti
Holiday Boat Parade Entry Chairperson

USCG Sector LA/LB Inspections Division | December 2021

The holiday boat parade season is upon us. People will be flocking to the waterfront to look at the lights and celebrate the holidays. Passenger vessels, as well as private vessels, will be going out on evening excursions and joining boat parades. Asinpastyears, Coast Guard MarineInspectors will be conducting additional inspections of vessels involved in the parades and evening trips. Here are a few pointers and other things that everyone should be aware of to minimize the impact on safe and legal operations.

Pointers on safety and legal operations: General safety hazards for ALL boat operators:

·  Illegal charters

·  Overloaded or unsafe electrical systems due to Christmas lights

·  Too many passengers – affect the stability of vessel – stay within maximum capacity

·  Recreational boats cannot charge passengers to board – illegal and will be fined

Spot checks may be conducted on certified T-boats:

·  Adequate number of lifejackets

·  Merchant mariner licenses onboard

·  Adequate number of crewmembers

·  Compliance with vessel security plans

Special local regulations:

·  All persons and/or vessels not registered with the sponsor as participants or official patrol vessels are considered spectators.

·  No spectators shall anchor, block, loiter in, or impede the through transit of participants or official patrol vessels in the regulated area during the effective dates and times, unless cleared for such entry by or through an official patrol vessel.

Goal: Safe operation for holiday boat season. Please assist any Coast Guard inspector walking the docks. Inspections will be done well before boarding passengers or getting underway. Any help you provide our inspectors who are just trying to do their job is appreciated.

SKIPPER’S MEETING: MANDATORY MEETING FOR ALL ENTRANTS! Saturday, December 10th, at 9:00 a.m. at Burton Chace Park Community Center located at 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. You will receive a final briefing and instructions with any updated changes.

ID NUMBERS: Each entrant will receive two (2) ID numbers for your boat. Place all numbers on your STARBOARD side, one at BOW, one MID SHIP, one at the STERN. ID numbers MUST be lit for judging identification. Numbers in illuminated lights (rope lights) are acceptable. If numbers are not properly lit and placed, we will not be able to photograph your entry. PLEASE NOTE all three (3) numbers must be returned by the next day at the Awards Ceremony or entrant will be charged a replacement fee. If not returned at Awards Ceremony please contact us for more info.

COMMUNICATIONS: All Boat Parade Skipper’s are requested to monitor VHF CHANNEL 68 for immediate instruction or assistance throughout the parade.

PARADE INSTRUCTIONS: Enter channel by 5:45 p.m. Fall in line as you enter. Enter with your LIGHTS ON! If you experience problems, go to the center of the Parade route and contact the operations boat. We will have chase boats available to assist you. Parade will officially terminate at 8:00 PM at which time the Marina will be open to all traffic.

6:00 p.m. the Parade begins. 5:55 p.m. fireworks will go off signaling the start of the Parade. All boats sound blasts on whistles (horns). Keep moving at 4 knots. Make at least 3 complete laps. DO NOT BUNCH UP! KEEP THE LINE MOVING! Pass slower boats to their port (your starboard). All turns must be made in FRONT of stake boats positioned at north and south ends of channel. NOTE: All motorized vessels must have reverse gear.

MARINA SAFETY: The Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol will be in charge of boat traffic and safety during the Parade. Requests for their assistance are to be directed to the water operations vessel command post on Channel 68.

MARINA TRAFFIC: Vessels not officially in the Parade requiring transit through the Marina during the Parade will require a Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol escort.

MARINA SECURITY: The Sheriff Harbor Patrol and or Coast Guard may do random security checks on vessels.FINALE: After making at least 3 complete laps, continue in line until you reach your own basin before returning to

your slip. PLEASE DO NOT CROSS THE MAIN CHANNEL, (unless cleared with the operations boat).

AWARDS CEREMONY: The Awards Ceremony will be held on Sunday, December 11th at 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club, 13589 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. Each entry fee includes two tickets to the Awards Ceremony. Additional tickets may be purchased at the door for $10.00 each.


Parade I.D. numbers MUST be displayed on your starboard side. One at BOW, one MID SHIP, one at the STERN and well-lighted for judging and emergency identification. If numbers are not properly lit and placed, we will not be able to photograph your entry.
All boats must be under auxiliary power for circling the parade route. Average speed is 4 to 5 knots. The harbor will be under restricted usage the afternoon and evening of the parade, and spectator craft will not be permitted in the parade area. Non-parade vessels entering and leaving the harbor during these hours are requested to contact the Harbor Master for escort.

Towing is permitted ONLY with prior approval of the Parade Committee. Tows must be well-lighted and within about 10 feet of the mothership.
No fireworks, rockets or flares are allowed. Inland Rules of Road are in force, and all rules and regulations of the U.S. Coast Guard and Harbor Master must be followed.

Parade line formation will be under the direction of the Parade Committee Boats. Every Parade participant should practice steerageway at night before the evening of the Parade to familiarize himself/herself with boat movement in darkness.
Running lights must be operative and visible. Procedures regarding safety and possible emergencies for hazards will be covered at the Skippers Meeting.


Your boat will be judged from the STARBOARD side only. Judges will be stationed at a number of sites around the Parade route. This should encourage the entrants to stay close to the shore and provide a uniform level of entertainment for the entire Parade route. Your Parade I.D. numbers must be well lighted for the judges. Since the boat entrants pass the judging sites several times during the course of the Parade, judges will award points each time, which will be averaged later.


A design is the first step in successful decorating. Keep the design simple, concentrating on the basic theme you select. A good single idea, effectively carried out, will have the most impact on judges and spectators. Many colors of lights can be used but a single color or white is most effective. Consider the number of crew aboard, and make their costuming an integral part of your design. Costumes can be rented, or made simply of muslin or cotton, and painted. All members dressed in a single color, white or black, and use accessory items like hats, vests, large ties, belts, match your theme.


Decorations don’t have to cost a lot but they must be fireproof or fire-retardant. Although plywood is best, heavy cardboard reinforced with wood stringers, or foamcore can be used for signs, props or backgrounds. They can be painted with non-soluble paints, glittered, or covered with decorative sheeting, aluminum foil, mylar or plastic sheets. Under good floodlights, these can look like a million. Large flat areas should have holes or flaps cut in them so they do not act as sails. Sailboats can make use of their rigging to haul displays, light strings aloft. You may want to have 25’ to 50’ extension cords, power surge cords, duct tape, nylon line and floodlights on board.


Check your boat’s ballast weight when fully decorated and with crew aboard and balance accordingly. The use of a walkie-talkie is advisable from deck to skipper, the noise of engine, generator and music make it nearly impossible to be heard. Have one person in charge of the CO2 fire extinguisher by the power plant.



Determine how large a generator you will need. Don’t underestimate the wattage, as your lights will be dim. Rentals are available, pay in advance if necessary to reserve yours. Mount the Generator securely on an open deck area where an exhaust extender hose can go over the side away from decorations. The generator can be placed on a piece of carpet and held down with 2x4s to help deaden the noise.

Pre-measure the fuel for the generator, check with your manual to find out how much gas it holds, and how much juice it puts out. Have 3 or 4 gas cans ready with the pre-measured amount of gas in each, so that there will

be no spillage while refilling during the parade. Use 4 people to refill the generator while underway in the parade: one to hold the funnel, another to pour the PRE-MEASURED amount into the generator, the fourth to carry the CO2 extinguisher. REMEMBER THAT GASOLINE CAN EASILY IGNITE ON THE OUTSIDE OF A HOT GENERATOR. If batteries are used, stow them, so nothing can be dripped on them to cause sparks and fire.


Be sure that your hard work and care with props and signs are visible by using flood or spotlights placed out from the side of the boat. 2x2s can be used as outriggers to carry flood secured at one end, and extended approximate 6ft from the hull. Strings of lights of many colors can be exciting, but colors restricted to a specific plan, or a single color are most effective. Twinkling or “tracer” lights can be knockouts. Strings of lights and other decorations can be easily and safely fastened to rails, deck fittings, etc..Using plastic garbage bag ties. Be sure that none of your lights shine directly on the skipper. The glare might make it difficult to see other boats.


Special effects and animation can be as varied as your budget, but you might consider as useful to your design the following: balloons, color wheels for spots, fog machines, bubble machines. Some animation can be effective without motors or other power drains. Consider “kid power”, a crew member pulling a rope, block and tackle, lifting a lever, turning a crank that moves props or rotates lights.


Music can be an important part of your overall presentation. Carefully pick music to fit your theme and mood. To avoid a dead lull between selections or repeats, retape the section of music many times on a cassette tape or use a continuous loop (these are available from 30 seconds to many minutes. It would be best to time your music before buying the tape. Place your speakers on the starboard side, where your audience will be.


“ DO’S ”


  1. BE DIFFERENTDO – Use light patterns other than just lining your rails DO – Use Animation
    DO – Deck displays and light with a lot of variety and color that demand attention DO – One, two or even three colors in specific patterns can be very attractive
    DO – The more lights, the better the impression
    DO – Light the objects on your boat, you want to be seen from a distance
    DO – Can your decorations be seen clearly from 300 to 400 feet? DO – Make things BIG. Is your ID number on the starboard bow?

“ DONT’S ”


1. DON’T PASS OTHER BOATS “…we had 2, 3 and even 4 boats abreast go by us…” • #1 boat (closest to the judges) get the most attention
• #2 boat gets some attention
• #3 boat may be ignored

• #4 boat WILL be ignored

    • We do not judge you until we find your number
    • If we see your number as you approach, we have sufficient time to look you over
    • Numbers mounted on the bridge or salon windows are usually found when the boat is about 10degrees past us
    • Many bow numbers fold in half because of the wind, and are not readable
    • Many times we can only identify the boat by the stern number. In those cases, the boat is judged onlyfrom the stern
    • By the time we see and record your number, you are gone • We do not see details of your decorations
    • The center is 500 feet from the seawall. You are very difficult and often impossible to see. Yournumbers are not visible, so you are not judged.
  4. DON’T FOLLOW THE BOAT IN FRONT OF YOU REAL CLOSE • The front boat gets most of the attention
    • 2nd boat gets some attention
    • 3rd boat gets about as much attention as a boat going 9 knots