What a fabulous parade! The boats are spectacular and the owners have gone the extra nautical mile to decorate them.
Of course I am referring to the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, and it appears this year that there are more boats on the water then the previous couple of years.
The 102th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is lighting up Newport Harbor, with three more nights to go and the grand finale set for Sunday night with a fireworks show at approximately 9 p.m. from the Balboa Pier.
The weather was has been good, but be sure to read my Boaters’ Weather Report for a change this weekend. However, I am doing my best to bribe Mother Nature to keep the rain away.
The boats are looking great with some very creative decorations for the first couple of nights, and I am expecting the best of the best for the weekend to be in the parade. I want to remind all skippers in the parade to display your parade number where it will be visible on the starboard hull between amidships and the transom for my spotters to read the number as you pass the Fun Zone where my announcer’s booth is located. I’ll be at the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, directly next to the carousel. The parade typically arrives at Balboa around 6:35 pm, however many people come early to find a parking spot and for their family to stake out a spot to watch.
Those arriving early are not bored, as the museum has activities and Santa will be in the courtyard. The Fun Zone is open with all the attractions that are great for the kids, including the Ferris wheel, carousel, games, restaurants, and most of the shops. And stop by my booth to say hello!
A huge hint for all boaters in the parade is to wave and interact with all the people watching from the shoreline, especially as you pass by the Fun Zone. The spectators can hear you and you will be able to hear them, which makes this parade more personal then so many other parades that I attend across the nation. The boats with dancing, waving, cheering and singing people onboard give a festive feel to the parade and they get a great reaction from the crowd.
Well, I want to tip my Captain’s hat to the Commodore’s Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, and I must acknowledge that I am a member, which organizes this miraculous holiday event that attracts spectators not only from Newport Beach, but from all over the world.
Additionally, I want to thank all the sponsors and especially CRN Digital Talk Radio for providing airtime for my Boathouse Radio Special National Radio Broadcast of the parade on Thursday evening. The parade would not have been possible without additional help and sponsorship from the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, Maritime Institute, Sea Tow, and others.
Tip of week is for those skippers on the water during the boat parade to help the parade control volunteers who you see in the vessels with the flashing yellow lights and displaying parade control banners. Every year volunteers with their boats help to keep the parade flowing through Newport Harbor. This is no small feat, and they need every skipper’s cooperation and patience.
Parade control members will try to direct every boat displaying a parade number to be in between the lead boat and the finish boat. Plus, you will see parade control boats at the turning and rounding points in the route helping those in the parade to see where to go next. All the unregistered boats and those not completing the whole route will be directed to follow after the finish boat, which has Santa on the bow. Parade control is there to help, and you can hail them on channel 68 on your VHF marine radio.
Lastly, every skipper needs to control their speed in the parade. Speeding boats zip by the spectators who want to admire the decorations and speeding boats create wakes that cause damage, plus rocking docks where people are standing.
Again, I want to remind all boaters to have their parade number displayed on their boat for my spotters and please slow down and interact with the spectators when you pass my announcer’s booth.
Be safe, be courteous, and have a wonderful time for the remaining nights of the parade.
And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time. Join Chandler Bell and me as we talk about “all things boating.” You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, iTouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at www.BoathouseTV.com or www.BoathouseRadio.com.
Until next week, Safe Voyages!