The Learning Center
Deck Your Hulls
While the bulk of the Charleston area boating season is behind us, we are still fortunate to be able to enjoy some late fall boating. And while the temperatures may be falling a bit, the spirit of the holidays is upon us. Why not consider entering your boat in the annual Charleston Holiday Parade of Boats? Celebrating its 38th year, the Boat Parade is sponsored by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and America’s Boating Club Charleston (aka Charleston Power Squadron). It will be held in Charleston Harbor on Saturday, December 14, 2019 from 6pm – 8:30pm.
Having participated in the event, I can tell you that it is a lot of fun getting family, friends and/or coworkers together to plan, decorate and participate in the parade itself. And, you don’t need a big boat or a generator to have a first-class display. Parade organizers say that the judges are looking for originality, light density, theme, animation and music. The size of the vessel is just not important. After all, previous winners have been in boats as small as 17’.
Divided into two categories, power and sail, prizes in each category are $500 for first, $300 for second and $200 for third place. Entry fees are $25 for private boats and $50 for commercial vessels. The deadline to enter is December 11, 2019.
If you do not want to decorate and enter your boat, viewing the boat parade from your own boat is still a lot of fun. Check out the website www.holidayparadeofboats.com for a chart showing the actual planned route and pick your best anchorage for viewing. When choosing your anchorage, keep in mind that the judges only see the starboard side of the participants vessel. Therefore, many will only decorate the starboard side. Also, be sure to leave a wide berth for safe passage of the parade participants.
The parade route generally runs from the Charleston Harbor South Channel toward the Ravenel Bridge, passing Charleston Harbor Marina and the Yorktown. From there, the route goes under the bridge past Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park, over to the Charleston peninsula north of the Maritime Center, around the Battery and up the Ashley River to the Coast Guard station.
Additionally, there are several area land lubber spots available for viewing if you don’t want to take the boat out. For more information about this year’s Parade of Boats including entry forms, viewing sites, parade route, decorating tips, award party, skippers meeting and more, check out the website above or find them at Facebook.com/CharlestonBoatParade.