From the Boathouse: A strand of lights along the coast


December has arrived along with a plethora of Christmas parades, whether by land or by sea. However, the signal lanterns from Paul Revere's Ride for one if by land and two if by sea have been replaced by thousands and thousands of Christmas lights decorating the floats and boats in parades for the next few weekends throughout the world.

Looking locally, the boat parades in Orange County's three harbors begin this weekend and continue for a few weekends. Let's begin with Huntington Harbour, which is the county's most northerly. Huntington's parade is scheduled for Dec. 7 and 8, and the theme chosen is "Music Around the World." The 51st annual parade and Cruise of Lights is presented by the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee with proceeds benefiting the Philharmonic Society of Orange County's music education programs for children.

Huntington Harbour is known for its spectacularly decorated homes, and you can find out how to see the parade and homes at or by calling (714) 840-7542.

Now, let us cruise down the coast to OC's most southern harbor of Dana Point for its Boat Parade of Lights. The 39th annual parade is held on two consecutive weekends with this year's theme being "Here We Come A'Caroling." You can plan to enter your boat or watch the parade Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 starting at 7:30 p.m. each night. Head to to see all the activities and times.

Then we have the granddaddy of all the parades in the nation with the 105th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade being held this year from Dec. 18 to 22. This parade is recognized as one of the top 10 holiday events in the country, boasting entries as small as kayaks and as large as million-dollar mega yachts whose decorations can cost in the tens of thousands.

The parade cruises around most of Newport Harbor and you can watch from numerous bayfront viewing locations or book a cruise on one of the sightseeing charter boats. This year's theme is "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and I always enjoy seeing the very imaginative decorations inspired by the annual theme.

The parade's website is, which has information about the parade, the homes decorated for the Ring of Lights and the annual awards and dinner auction. Additionally, you can call the Chamber of Commerce at (714) 729-4400 if you are still floating in the dark ages without Internet access.

Leaving the O.C., on my radar is the 15th annual Palos Verdes Peninsula Holiday Parade of Lights hosted by Rolling Hills Estates on Saturday. Now before I receive a flood of emails, I know that is a terrestrial parade and not a boat parade. However, every year veteran parade announcer Michelle Swanson and I are honored to co-host this parade on a live TV with Cox Communications on Channel 35 starting at 6 p.m.

We will be announcing from the show mobile located on Deep Valley Drive in front of the Peninsula Center Library, and the good news is that there is bleacher seating along with ample space along the sidewalks to hear our banter. For a special surprise this year, we will be joined by San Francisco's Brenda Barnes, who will join in the conversation with her wit and charm helping us to announce the parade participants.

"The 15th annual Peninsula Holiday Parade of Lights will feature 11 bands, eight drill teams, classic cars, equestrian units, floats, clowns and more! Bring the whole family for 90-plus minutes of holiday happiness!" Andy Clark, the city's community services director, told me, and he mentioned that those interested can go to for details and directions.

So, if you are in the Los Angeles South Bay area on Saturday, then join me at this wonderful and festive family event. Additionally, Mother Nature has promised good weather for the parade, but it will be chilly.

On the same night and just down the hill from the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the public is invited to watch the 51st Annual Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade aboard the Battleship Iowa berthed in San Pedro. The battleship will be open for parade viewing that will include a visit by Santa Claus, ornament crafts, live music and other holiday surprises. You can book your tickets and find out the details at

Tip of the week is to dress warmly if you plan to watch or join in the parades and plan to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion. I hope to see you at one of the many parades, and next weekend I will be cruising in the Discovery Bay Yacht Club's Christmas Lighted Boat Parade starting at 37.9064 degrees north and 121.6067 degrees west if you want to enter your boat or watch the parade.

Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsibly and look behind you before you turn the wheel at the helm.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network. See times at, and

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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