I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I just threw away my bathroom scale after the daylong feast.
It reminds me of the long-distance yacht deliveries where I am known by my crew for stocking the vessel’s bridge with munchies to help us keep alert on watch. I think that munchies should be required items in the bridge while on watch duty, or at least until the appointed trip’s chef wakes up to prepare breakfast.
The day after Thanksgiving is also known as one of the biggest shopping days of year, but, I think it really signals all boaters to start decorating their vessels for the rapidly approaching Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Across the nation, there will be holiday boat parades in harbors, lakes, and rivers including the Delta.
Additionally, I have heard of a couple of boat parades that are on land because the waterways have frozen over. So, the boats are towed on their trailers in the parade. Now those are die-hard boaters.
Let’s take a look at the plethora of parades in Orange County’s three harbors, and the harbors in our neighboring counties.
We can begin with the San Diego Parade of Lights to be held on two nights, Dec. 14 and 21. Sadly, this parade had a fatal boating accident last year when a 33 foot Coast Guard boat hit a 26 foot Sea Ray powerboat, injuring five people and killing an 8-year-old boy.
Leaving San Diego harbor heading north and you will find both the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights, and Oceanside Harbor’s Parade of Lights to be held on the same night, Dec. 11. Dana Point will host the Dana Point Parade of Lights on Dec. 10 and 11, which is the weekend before our Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade from Dec. 15 through 19.
Huntington Harbour is a great vista of decorated homes for their parade, with this year’s Western theme of the Huntington Harbour Hoedown on Dec. 11 and 12. Continuing on our northerly trek, the next parade is the Naples Island Annual Holiday Boat Parade on Dec. 11.
And on Dec. 4 in Los Angeles Harbor is Holiday Afloat Boat Parade, and I wonder if any of the cruise and container ships will don Christmas lights to join in the parade route?
Not to be left in the cold, little King Harbor will host Christmas Boat Parade on Dec. 11. You remember King Harbor that lies just north of Palos Verdes Peninsula in Redondo Beach?
However, to the north of King Harbor is Mission Bay with its Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on Dec. 12.
We can continue with the hundreds of parade across the nation, but I will save that for my radio show.
Tip of the week is a few hints for winterizing your boat even in our mild winter weather. Most boaters in Southern California never think about winterizing their boats unless you happen to have a boat in Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead. However, there are a few steps that you should take to help protect your favorite weekend investment.
Let me start by saying that our weather does change enough to cause a few problems, from condensation to rainwater seepage to mold, since the boats are normally not used as much in the so-called off-season as in the summer months.
With the cooler weather the tanks aboard will produce water condensation on the inside, and you should be especially concerned if you have gasoline in the tanks versus diesel. The ethanol added to the gasoline will absorb water and gum up your tanks, lines, filters, and injectors. Ethanol is causing problems for boats with gas powered engines, and remember even if you have diesel engines that this will affect the outboards on your tenders, personal watercraft, portable generators, and the like that use gasoline. I am hearing that if at all possible you should remove the gasoline from any gas-powered watercraft that you are going to store until next season if ethanol is in the fuel mixture. A lot of trailered boats and toys are fueled at your local corner gas station, and this gas does contain 10 percent ethanol.
Then the question is, especially with diesel, do you top off the fuel in your boat to limit the amount of condensation from the air inside the tanks, or not top off your tanks as the fuel will go bad sitting for months on end? This will be topic in an upcoming column, so stay tuned.
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!