The Harbor Column:

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week as this weather seems like summer, only a little chilly in the mornings. Oh well, time to release the holiday shoppers the day after the feast, and that signals that it is time to start decorating your boat for the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade (

This year’s boat parade is going to be fabulous as each year I notice that the boaters’ imaginations and the festive decorations transform the boats into works of art. What a fine theme — “The Joys of Christmas Toys” — to let your creativity loose decorating your boat to win one of the awards.

Thanksgiving is usually a great time to go boating with your family and friends. I am already being asked what the weather and sea conditions will be like so I will glance into my crystal ball. Thanksgiving day through the weekend, I see only a few clouds drifting in the sky with daytime air temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s. Nice. Sea conditions are tough to predict a week or more out, and I am not sure yet if the northern large swells will hit our area. However, this weekend the seas will be building up to five feet, and Point Conception will have swells of more than 12 feet. If you will be going out on the water then boat safely and watch for morning fog.

Also, it is time to release the shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving and my shopping advice is that this is a great time to find a deal on new and used boats. Plus, boat loan interest rates are at a record low so stop by to pick up, say, a new 72-foot Marquis or a nice 22-foot Chris-Craft Corsair.

Tip of the week is that it is lobster season so be careful transiting the harbor entrance. Laying just outside the jetties are many lobster traps with their marker buoys floating on the surface. I recommend navigating a straight course between the Newport entrance Mo Buoy and the center of the jetty entrance and not trying to cut the jetty’s corners, especially in the dark.

Remember, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show runs from noon to 1 p.m. Saturdays on the syndicated radio network reaching coast to coast.

MIKE WHITEHEAD is the Pilot’s boating columnist. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to .

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