LOOK AT YOUR BOAT AND BUILD ON ITS STRENGTHS,” says Pete Chambliss, Chief Elf (yes, really) of the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade in Annapolis, Maryland. While displays can be as imple as a strand of lights run along the toe rails, or as elabo- rate as Santa and the Abominable Snowman cage fighting on
the bow while the elves look on, each one starts with a design. A powerboat
is longer than it is tall, so it supports horizontal designs well. A sailboat works
better with designs with some height.
Decide how you want onlookers to view the display. Inflatables on the foredeck can be
viewed equally well from all sides of the boat, while words written in lights may be seen
best from the port or starboard side. Now is the time to figure out what decorations to use,
how to power them, and how to attach them securely to the boat. Outdoor-rated LED lights
approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) last a long time, use little energy, and produce
less heat, avoiding fire hazards. Many yard decorations can do double duty on a boat, too,
because their size makes them easy to see and they’re already graded for outdoor use.
KEEPING SANTA SAFE
WHEN POWERING UP
Adding extra lights to a boat increases the
risk of fire and electrical shock, so deciding
how to power the display has important
safety implications. Before hanging them on
the boat, check the lights for frayed wires
and loose bulb-base connections. Wrap plug
connections tightly between strands with
high-quality electrical tape, and don’t overload circuits. The number of strands that can
be connected together depends on the type
of lights, size of the wiring in the set, and
power source being used on the boat.
AC-powered lights can be plugged into
an inverter running off a boat battery; you’ll
want to use LEDs to minimize the current
draw. You can also power up using a prop-
BOATER YOU CAN DO IT IN A WEEKEND BY TRACY LEONARD
this holiday season?
to go about
Your Dockside This December