Next week is Thanksgiving, which means it is time once again to cut your docklines and flee to the water to avoid the fanatical holiday shoppers on Black Friday.
Although Black Friday is not the busiest time of the year for retailers, it does stimulate shopping for the holiday season. The term is derived from the accounting side of retailers' books, which go from being in the red to being in the black. Typically, retail sales are slow in the fall, and this day signifies the return of profits as holiday shopping begins.
Also, Black Friday is the official day to break out those holiday decorations for boat and home. Similar to the tradition of not wearing white after Labor Day, you are not supposed to decorate before Thanksgiving.
However, this does not leave many boaters much decorating time this year because the boat parades begin the week after Black Friday. The first annual festive Christmas boat parades are scheduled for Dec. 5, in Southern California and across the nation.
Thanksgiving weekend is usually a busy boating weekend in our area and a great time to get on the water if the weather cooperates. You can use this weekend to do a shakedown cruise in preparation for skippering your boat in one of the Christmas boat parades.
Shakedown cruises are perfect for honing your skills and checking your safety equipment. I recommend that you cruise the parade route to practice in daylight hours and learn how to maneuver the turns. You can practice navigating that unknown narrow channel or holding your boat steady while stopping in a narrow channel — as you will have to do during the parade.
While underway, discuss and practice what you would do in different emergency situations, from man-overboard to a fire in the engine room and the engines shutting down.
I will list the parades in my next column.
While on the topic of parades, a terrestrial parade will take place just up the coast from Orange County. The 16th annual Palos Verdes Peninsula's Holiday Parade of Lights will be hosted by the city of Rolling Hills Estates on Dec. 6.
Once again, I will be the parade announcer. I will be joined by veteran announcers Michelle Swanson and Brenda Barnes.
The parade will be broadcast live through Cox Communications on channel 35 in the South Bay area starting at 6 p.m. Our broadcast booth will be located on Deep Valley Drive in front of the Peninsula Center Library, and bleacher seating will be located directly across the street.
The parade will feature marching bands, drill teams, classic cars, equestrian units, floats, clowns and more, said Andy Clark, the city's community services director.
"The whole family is invited for 90-plus minutes of holiday happiness and [a chance to] join in the spirit of the holidays," he said.
Visit http://www.rollinghillsestatesca.gov for details and directions.
So gather the family in the wood-paneled station wagon with the flip rear-facing seats and drive slightly north to join us at this wonderful and festive family event. Mother Nature always promises good weather for the parade, but it will be chilly.
As always, just keep an eye to the weather for any changes. Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsibly and look behind you before you turn the wheel at the helm.
The original boating program, "Boathouse TV & Radio Shows," has stretched from coast to coast for more than two decades. See the details at http://www.boathousetv.com, http://www.facebook.com/boathouseradio and http://www.twitter.com/boathouseradio.
MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to email@example.com or go to http://www.boathousetv.com.