The Maritime Report: Lighted Yacht Parade This Saturday

The Maritime Report: Lighted Yacht Parade This Saturday

Dave Bloch

2011 Grand Prize Winner WAHOO, owned by Gary and Diane Thompson. (Notice that they even decorated their inflatable dinghy!)

The annual Oakland/Alameda Estuary Lighted Yacht Parade - with the theme "Lights, Camera, Action!" - kicks off the holiday season this Saturday, December 1! Every year, boat owners from around the Bay decorate their boats with - well, about everything you can imagine. Sailboats and powerboats get lit up with thousands of lights; owners tie on trees, wreaths and ribbons. Some boats have folks dancing and singing. In 2011, there were 35 boats in the parade; more are expected this year.

The event is FREE. There are good places to view at the Wind River office complex (Atlantic Avenue north of Buena Vista) or over on the Oakland side at Jack London Square. The boats sail slowly east from downtown Oakland along their side of the Estuary to near Grand Marina, then turn around and pass westbound close to our shore. Arriving by 5:30 should get you a good place to see everything.

Want to be IN the parade, but don't have a boat? Get over to the Alameda Main Street Ferry Terminal before 5:15 p.m.! You can board the ferry and ride it IN THE PARADE. Fare is $6.25 adult; $3.50 for youths ages 5-12; free for children under 5; and $3.10 for seniors and disabled people. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots and your admission is free! (See the link below for details.)

The annual event is sponsored by several local businesses and hosted by Encinal Yacht Club, Oakland Yacht Club, and the Marina Village Yacht Harbor. All proceeds benefit the Oakland Firefighters Random Acts and the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

This is a really fun event for the whole family! Bundle up, bring your camera, and come out to the north shore of Alameda Island to enjoy the parade! There's more information, plus photos of previous years' winners, at FERRY INFORMATION: