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Counting down to Christmas boat parade

December 02, 2005|By MIKE WHITEHEAD

Ahoy.

The holiday season is officially upon us, and the start of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is only 12 days away.

If you are traveling across the nation this weekend, then you might see the Hendersonville Lighted Boat Parade at Drake's Creek in Tennessee on Saturday. You can continue your travels further north to Maine for Boothbay Harbor's Lighted Boat Parade on Sunday.

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Boaters who plan on participating in our local parade have two tasks before Dec. 14. First, register your boat for the parade with the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Second, decorate your boat. Only those boats displaying a registration number will be allowed in the official parade route between the start and finish boat. Remember to display your parade number as outlined in the registration materials, and do not cover the numbers with decorations.

Properly displayed numbers are important. They allow the parade's photographer, John Blom, to identify your vessel. They also let me identify your boat for my parade commentary. As you may know, this year, for the first time in the parade's history, I have been selected as the voice of the Christmas Boat Parade.

From a base on the boardwalk between the Balboa Pavilion and Balboa Boat Rentals, I will be telling the gathered spectators about the boats in the parade. If you've been searching for the perfect viewing spot for the parade, look no further.

For more than two decades, I have skippered in the boat parades, and you can only image what I have seen on the water. Many boaters may never have experienced the sheer number of boats on the water during the parade. I know many boaters who shy away from the parade because of all the boats and resulting chaos. The most important advice I can offer is to cruise slowly and be very courteous to those around you, especially when stuck in a jam. Use boater's etiquette while underway. There is no need to be rushing around the bay or screaming at other boaters.

TIP OF THE WEEK

This week my tip of week is actually a kudos of the week to the 15-year-old identical twins who were awarded Newport Beach's Junior Lifeguards of the year award for 2005. Michael and John Prichard, who are freshmen at Newport Harbor High School, have been in the program for seven years. They were selected from about 1,200 kids in the program.

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