Tricks for Boat Decorating, Signs and Lights from Sixth Star Entertainment
Cost Effective Decoration Ideas for your boat!

Our WSVN Television Producer for the Winterfest Special gives you tips for the Show

Non-Profits Get Involved With the Parade


“We Are Devo” Interview

  1. DECORATIONS: Both sides of the boat must be decorated the same. 
  2. LIGHTING: Visit this site to explore some current lighting options.
  3. THEME: The 2023 Parade Theme is “Reflections Afloat”
  4. DESIGNS: Use a pattern / coroplast / foam board / bead board /corrugated plastic sheets/styrofoam, etc. for fun and creative designs. Draw designs on coroplast, then paint or outline in rope lighting. DO NOT USE SPRAY PAINT on foam–it will dissolve. Acrylic or vinyl paint is best. If you work with a sign company, they can help create your designs. (HELPFUL HINT: You can use a projector for outlining characters or images on boards!)
  5. Punch holes to place lights or staple rope lighting. You will have to figure out the placement of the lights with a 50 or 100 ct. light string. Space them so you have enough to go around the figure(s) as desired. You can always tie up the extra in the back, just make sure you are not short. Use a screw driver to punch holes in the foam.
  7. ATTACH DECORATIONS TO THE BOAT: Use plastic tie wraps for the figures and lights.
  8. ATTACH 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.
  9.  Please remember costumes, fabrics and spotlights to enhance your decorations!
  10.  FRINGE: one of the best ways to decorate your hull!

Below are a few places to purchase fringe and floral sheeting online (Prices based on 10 ft of fringe):


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 link:  to calculate power usage.


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.

Location to pick up a generator:

Additional decorating tips:

WINTERFEST ALSO has PROFESSIONAL DECORATORS that can help you create that “WOW” entry for the parade – below are some images of the parade entry and the rendering the client received to approve.

Contact Dawn in the Winterfest office for available decorators.