Holidays Aboard

by Norris Comer

Christmas BoatPacific Northwestern boaters are a resilient breed when it comes to the outdoors, and nowhere is that spirit more apparent than during the usually cold and rainy holiday season. Some sailors will swear the winter brings the best wind for those truly wild rides, while motor yachtsmen frequent their favorite spots that are finally devoid of the summertime crowds. And, of course, just about every marina in Puget Sound and beyond has a holiday party to throw. Here is a small sample of marina-based fun for those of us who are still out on the water.

This is by no means a comprehensive list and we encourage you to check out your favorite marina to see what they are up to. What’s even better is that several of these events have a charity element to spread the good cheer to those who need it most. Where do you like to spend your nautical Christmas? Feel free to send us pictures or letters to

2016 Christmas Ships Parades, Portland, Oregon ALL MONTH:

The Christmas Ships Parade is a Portland tradition since 1954 and is more accurately viewed as a season unto itself. Both Willamette and Columbia River fleets, with well over 60 boats total, adhere to an ambitious sailing schedule throughout the month to different locations in the Portland area. If you find yourself down that way, then check out for the information you need to catch a glimpse. If you wish to join the fun with your own vessel, there is information on the website as well.

2016 Christmas Lane Decorated Boat Display and Contest at Port Orchard, December 2, 3, and 4:

The Sinclair Inlet Yacht Club and Port of Orchard Marina are hosting this event for all boaters. The marina even offers three free nights of moorage (December 2, 3, and 4) to each boat that shows up decorated with lights (price of power hookup not included). A party dock, complete with light food and hot buttered rum, is the pre-game for the voting for best and most creative light displays. The event is a double feature with Port Orchard’s Festival of Chimes and Lights on December 3.

Holiday on the Bay at the Port of Everett, December 3:

Holiday on the Bay is a free community festival with something for the whole family. This year includes the Everett Farmer’s Market holiday craft fair, holiday cookie decorating, City of Everett fire truck rides, a tree lighting ceremony, and much more. More information on all the fun is available at Holiday on the Bay takes place on December 3 from noon to 1800 hours at the Waterfront Center, 1205.

Parade of Boats Night at Lake Union, Seattle, December 16:

This year marks the second iteration of the Parade of Boats Night event spearheaded by Argosy Cruises. Lighted boats will gather on the evening of Friday, December 16 between 1900 hours and 2145 hours near Eastlake. The procession will then travel through the Fremont Cut and past Fisherman’s Terminal. Vessels will be judged for awards in categories like “Best in Show” and “People’s Choice.” Registration is $20 on

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