Participant Information and Registration Form

Dozens of vessels of every shape and size participate in the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights each year. Anyone with a boat can enter and join in the fun!

The $75 ($100 after Nov 26) entry fee covers Parade participation for both evenings, and includes two complimentary reservations to the awards presentation dinner.

Step 1. YOU MUST READ THIS NOTICE BEFORE PROCEEDING.  Click here to read the Skippers’ Instructions.

By clicking the above link, you are agreeing to this WAIVER, RELEASE and INDEMNITY: In consideration of being allowed to participate in the Parade, related events and activities, I agree to release and waive any and all claims and / or lawsuits against SAN DIEGO BAY PARADE OF LIGHTS, a Public Benefit Corporation, it’s members, officers, directors, Parade Committee, the Port of San Diego, and all other sponsoring organizations (“Released Parties”), for any loss or damages due to bodily injury, death or property damage sustained while participating in the Parade and related events and activities. I also agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Released Parties, from and against any and all actions, claims and / or damages, including costs and attorney fees, due to personal injuries, property damage or intangible damage, asserted by any third person, caused directly, in whole or in part by the conduct of Applicant, and Applicant’s agents, employees and crew, even where the negligence of the Released Parties is a contributing cause of the damage. I also agree to conform to and to comply with all rules and regulations governing this event as well as the directions, safety requirements, instructions and regulations of the United States Coast Guard, The San Diego Harbor Police and the Parade Directors and Parade Committee safety vessels.

Step 2. Click here to register and pay for your entry into the 2020 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights.

Awards Presentation Dinner

The Awards Presentation dinner will be at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse on Harbor Island in January (date to be announced). Your parade registration includes two tickets to the award presentation dinner that will be held at the door in your name. Additional Awards Banquet admission tickets are available for purchase online here for $42/each until January 1. After January 1, the cost will be $50 until sold out. In the past, the Awards Dinner has filled to capacity and sold out. No tickets will be available for sale at the door.

There are dozens of prizes donated from our sponsors that participants can win. Don’t miss the parade fun and a chance to win a great prize!

All participants receive a participant plaque and are invited  to the awards presentation held each year in January.

Every San Diego Bay Parade of Lights participant is eligible for a wide variety of prizes and awards! Two panels of judges are stationed at two points along the parade route and give each participant a score on a scale of 1 to 5 in four different categories: Lighting, Music, Special Effects, and Originality.
Judging criteria for each category is as follows:


  1. Amount of lighting
  2. Creative use of lighting
  3. Difficulty of lighting (i.e., small boats with great light effects)


  1. Audibility
  2. Live vs. recorded music
  3. Applicability of music to the parade theme

Special Effects

  1. Crowd engagement
  2. Boaters dressed in costume/boater participation
  3. Use of ornamentation other than lighting


  1. Adaptation and variation of theme

Participants must pass both sets of judges to be considered for awards. Bonus points are given to boaters who participate in both nights of the parade! Participants are eligible to win awards in a wide variety of categories. Winners and runners up in each category are given a trophy as well as great prizes! All Parade participants are given a participant plaque and are invited to the awards dinner, held each year in January.

Grand Prize

The Grand Prize changes annually and is chosen randomly. It is not affected by the judges’ ratings. Participants must pass both sets of judges to be considered for any awards.

Award Categories

Best of Parade
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights Committee International Award
San Diego Port Tenant Award
Best Yacht Club Entry
Best Marina Entry
Best of Power (Commercial)
Best of Power (Private) for boats 46 ft. and over
Best of Power (Private) for boats 33 to 45 ft.
Best of Power (Private) for boats 32 ft. and under
Best of Commercial Sail
Best of Sail (Private) 46 ft. and over
Best of Sail (Private) 33 to 45 ft.
Best of Sail (Private) 32 ft. and under
Best Self-Powered

There are other ways to participate in the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights besides entering your boat in the Parade. Each year we ask for ‘stake boat’ volunteers to help our Parade entrants stay on the predetermined route. In addition to getting front row seats to the Parade from the water, stake boat volunteers also get two tickets to the annual appreciation dinner in early January at the Bali Hai Restaurant. Volunteers are also entered into a drawing for a chance to win a Holland America cruise for two!

Stake boat volunteers must arrive in their own boat prior to the Parade start time, and each boat will be assigned a designated station to drop anchor. The dedication and commitment of our volunteers is what makes this not-for-profit, free event all possible!

For more information or to sign up to be a stake boat volunteer, please contact us.

Presenting Sponsor

Awards Banquet Sponsor


Royal Caribbean Cruises

The Moorings

Seaport Village

San Diego Convention Center