It’s that time of year again — get your crew together and decorate your boat! The Bellingham Yacht Club celebrates “Candyland Christmas Cruise” with the traditional Lighted Boat Parade on December 2, 2023 starting at 5:30 p.m.

The public is invited to view the boats showing off twinkling and colorful lights and broadcasting holiday music. The best viewing spots are Bellingham’s Boulevard Park and the Fairhaven Cruise Terminal. BYC membership is not required to participate in the parade and all who register are eligible to win prizes and join the after party.

The winning boat from 2022.

“The Lighted Boat Parade is a Bellingham holiday tradition that families enjoy annually as our boats light up the Bay. Members of the boating community take a lot of pride being part of the parade and the competition is always stiff,” Fleet Captain Mike Unger explained. “We are also grateful to have the Coast Guard and a dedicated BYC safety boat nearby as maneuvering in the dark is challenging and safety is our priority.”

A holiday party with music, food and beverages will be celebrated at the Bellingham Yacht Club following the parade. Members, guests and all registered parade participants are invited, and several awards will be given for decorating excellence.

Club Members are looking forward to the parade as well as many upcoming events. Some parade participants plan elaborate displays far in advance and spend hours decorating their boats while others take a more modest approach. All have a wonderful time seeing each other’s creativity and ingenuity and parading together.

“The Lighted Boat parade marks the end of the year as well as being the first on-the-water event with the new BYC board,” added Unger. “We are already planning lots of cruises, races, regattas and youth sailing for 2024.” More information about the parade is available at

Want to come to the party but don’t have a boat or not planning to decorate? It’s not too late to join the BYC. New members are welcomed to join the Bellingham Yacht Club at any time and neither boat ownership nor sponsorship is required.

Founded in 1925, the Bellingham Yacht Club offers year-round social activities and extensive racing and cruising programs. BYC is the only yacht club in Whatcom County that is located on the marina docks and offers a full-service bar and member-exclusive access to an out-station on Lummi Island. For more information about joining, go to