Christmas Boat Parade Bermuda
The grand boat parade held once in every two years in December is one of the largest events in Bermuda and marks the beginning of Christmas holiday celebrations in the island. The event is held in Hamilton Harbor
over a 2 mile circular route.
It was first started in the year 1998 when over 90 boats participated. Boats of all types whether sail boats or motorized, expensive yachts or small Boston whalers all participate in this parade. It is also a competition. Thousands of people watch this specter from all along the shoreline.
The boats and yachts are dressed up in colorful decors with lights and in various themes. Themes are independently chosen by the crew of the boat. Some of them also play music on board. The crew members of the boats dress up in colorful costumes as well.
The route of the parade is around the Hamilton Harbor. The parade starts from a pre-determined point on the route like the Hamilton Princess Hotel
or the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club
. Then they start moving clockwise at a speed of 4 miles per hour and some 100 feet from the shoreline.
After moving parallel to Front Street the parade takes a turn at the foot of the Hamilton Harbor, then moves along the shoreline of Paget parish. At Darrel's Wharf it crosses over to return to the Hamilton Princess Hotel. There are several marker boats on the way at turning points that flash orange lights marking the route of the boat parade.
Bermuda Boat Parade
The event ends with grand fireworks that takes place from the center of the harbor. There are prizes for many categories including the overall best boat, best sailboat, best fishing boat, best boat under 25-foot and over 25-foot, best use of lights and many others.
Families and children from all over the island come and watch this grand spectacle. The boat parade usually starts at 6:30pm in the evening. Most of the vantage points start getting filled up from 5pm onwards.
The best places to watch the boat parade?
You can actually watch this event from any point on the shoreline of Hamilton harbor like the harbor road of Paget parish, Front Street
of Hamilton City, waterfront on the Pitts Bay Road
However some of the special vantage points include the top of Cavendish Heights or Bostock Hill, the Albouys Point
and Flag Pole at Hamilton City. The terrace of the Hamilton Princess Hotel is also an excellent place to watch the boat parade. This terrace gets filled up long before the parade starts. They also run an audio commentary here so that you know about the boats passing by. Many tourists book the harbor-facing rooms in the hotel to watch the boat parade from their rooms. Another favorite place of mine is the upper floor balcony of a restaurant on Front Street overlooking the harbor.
Schedule for 2018 Bermuda Christmas Boat Parade
Saturday, December 8, 2018.
The viewing area at #1 car park in Hamilton City will be free for all to watch the parade. There will be vendors selling food, snacks etc.
2013 Bermuda Boat Parade
Scheduled to take place on December 7th, 2013. As in the previous years, this year too the boats would go around the Hamilton Harbor. Update: Dozens of boats participated in the boat parade which started from Fairmont Hamilton Princess and circled around the White's Island in Hamilton harbor. The boat themed on Casino won the best overall prize.
Note that only recently Casinos have been allowed on-board the ships docked at the ports of Bermuda, and a bill seeking public opinion for regulated casinos in the island has been passed. The Turtle Hill Golf Club of hotel Fairmont Southampton won the prize for best use of lights. There were several other awards given away. The parade was concluded with fireworks.
2011 Boat Parade in Bermuda
The boat parade was held on Saturday December 10th at 6:30pm. Over 70 boats and yachts participated. It was watched by thousands of onlookers. There were boats with themes on cartoon figures, movies and others including conventional Christmas messages having large figures of Santa Claus. There were boats displaying Star Wars, Dragon etc. One boat had a message "Peace On De Rock" that was so relevant in the backdrop of rising crime in the island. The parade started from the Hamilton Princess Hotel.
There is no entree fee for the boats.
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