Decorating Tips for Your Boat

  1. DECORATIONS: Both sides of the boat must be decorated the same.
  2. THEME: The 2017 Parade Theme is “Broadway on Parade.”
  3. DECORATING TIP: Use a pattern / coroplast / foam board / bead board /corrugated plastic sheets/styrofoam, etc. for your designs – draw on coroplast your designs, paint and outline in rope lighting. (HINT): DO NOT USE SPRAY PAINT on foam. It will dissolve. Acrylic Paint is best or vinyl. If you work with a sign company – they can help create your designs  (SAMPLE using a projector to help outline characters, images for your boards)Outlining Simpsons close
  4. Punch holes for placing lights or staple rope lighting. You will have to figure out the placement of the lights…A 50 light string or 100 light string. Space them so you have enough to go around the figure as desired. You can always tie up the extra in the back… just make sure you are not short. You can use a screw driver to punch holes in the foam.
  6. ATTACHING THE DECORATIONS TO THE BOAT: Use plastic tie wraps for the figures and lights.
  7. ATTACHING THE FIGURES AND LIGHTS TO THE BOAT Tie the corners and anywhere else it matches a rail to secure it. Be careful – remember wind can move objects – use the plastic tie wraps in all corners of the foam board.
  8. VIDEO TIPS: Decorating Tip playlist on You Tube:
  9. Please remember costumes, fabrics and spotlights to enhance your decorations! And Don’t forget your hull – use glittery milar curtains.

 Additional decorating tips:


IF YOU ARE USING C-7, C-9 LIGHTS – this is the minimum guideline: Depending upon the display and type of lighting being used, a chart has been formulated to provide minimum guidelines. These figures are traditional Christmas tree string lights and are listed per deck (i.e. a two deck, 40’ vessel will be required to have a minimum of 12,000 miniature lights or 3,000 C-7 & C-9 lights). Please remember, these are MINIMUM guidelines and Winterfest reserves the right to disqualify any entry if these guidelines are not met! This is an application only, no entry is granted by submission.

Boat Size in Feet       Miniature Lights           C-7 & C-9 Lights

20-29                             5,000                                              1,000

30-39                             6,500                                              1,500

40-49                             8,000                                              2,000

50-59                             9,500                                              4,000

60-69                             12,000                                           6,000

70 Plus                          17,000                                           8,000

To check the ABYC allowable ampacity of conductors, download the rating table from Blue Sea Systems or check a reference guide such as Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder.  Also click on the linke:  to calculate power usage.

LOOKING FOR ROPE LIGHTNG DISCOUNTS: Use Code: paradise100 for free shipping on orders over $100. Ordering less than $100? Sign up on the


You can power almost any amount of lights and decorations, depending on the size of the generator.

Disadvantages: While using a generator gives you the advantage of being able to use a greater number of lights and decorations, it does have some drawbacks. Some generators can be loud and can restrict your ability to hear and the limited availability of generators to rent or borrow can be a challenge if your boat isn’t already equipped with one.

OTHER METHOD: Use of an inverter if you have an inboard engine. Inverters invert the power from your engine’s DC current to AC. If you have an outboard engine without electric start, an inverter probably will not regenerate the on board batteries. Inverters can be purchased at local marine suppliers. Make sure to purchase the correct inverter for your vessel. Add up the amount of watts that you intend to power and obtain an inverter with extra wattage.

Advantages: An inverter is simple to use and uses the power your engine is already generating. It is quieter than a generator and boat engine running at the same time. When not using the inverter for decorating your vessel, you can use some of your 110 volt items from home providing you have purchased the correct size inverter.

Disadvantages: Inverters range in price depending on how many watts you want to generate. The more watts you require, the more money you will have to spend. If you have an underrated inverter, you may find you’re without lights in 20 – 30 minutes because the safety feature of the inverter will shut it down.

Where to get your generator: