Continuing its long-standing San Diego tradition, the 47th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights promises to dazzle and entertain bayfront crowds during the evenings of December 9 and 16, 2018. Participants in the highly anticipated holiday boat parade will decorate their craft to fit this year’s theme, “A Tropical Island Christmas.”

Presented by the Port of San Diego, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights brings more than 100,000 San Diego residents and visitors to the shores of San Diego Bay each year. The procession of approximately 80 lavishly decorated boats has become one of the most iconic events in the region.

Beginning at 5 p.m. each night, the parade starts at Shelter Island and proceeds to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and ends at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. The parade takes about an hour to pass any given point and there are many comfortable waterfront viewpoints along the route. A map of the route is available on the San Diego Bay Parade of Light’s website. Due to increased traffic and parking demand, observers are encouraged to plan ahead or take the trolley.

For added insight into the participating boats, viewers can watch the parade from near the announcers’ areas. Announcers will be located at the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero and at Coronado Landing. As each boat passes these viewing points, the announcers will offer a brief history and description of the participating vessels.

This year there will be judges at two points along the parade route, the Maritime Museum and the docks at Peoehe’s Restaurant in Coronado. Participating boats must pass both sets of judges to be eligible for prizes.

Awards are presented to the best decorated boats and those that truly capture the event’s theme. All participants receive a participant plaque and are invited to the awards dinner, held January 10, 2019, at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, where a wide variety of prizes will be raffled off.

Everyone who participates in both nights of the parade and passes both sets of judges will be eligible to win prizes.  The grand prize will be a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Boat owners interested in participating in this year’s San Diego Bay Parade of Lights are strongly urged to submit the registration form and the $75 entry fee online at If participants cannot submit the entry form and payment online, registration forms can be downloaded and submitted to the Bali Hai Restaurant at 2230 Shelter Island Drive. The fee covers both evenings, and watercraft of all sizes are encouraged to participate. For more information, call 619-224-2240 or email

If you are interested in sponsoring the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, please contact Joni Geis at 619-823-5220 or via email at, or Kat Ohlmann at 858-488-4091,

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is sponsored by the Port of San Diego’s Tidelands Activation Program, designed to bring our dynamic waterfront alive with events that engage the community and inspire visitors to enjoy San Diego Bay.

To stay up to date and follow the fun, find us on social media using @sdparadeoflights and #SanDiegoBayParadeofLights on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored tradition brought to the San Diego Bay by the boating community. Each year, more than 80 lavishly decorated boats proceed around the San Diego Bay on two consecutive Sundays in December. For more information, please visit

About the Port of San Diego’s Tidelands Activation Program:

Port of San Diego Experiences includes the Tidelands Activation Program (TAP). TAP awards grant funds and waives service fees to community organizations for public events along the waterfront that connect visitors and residents to new cultures and vibrant activities. Artistic and cultural exhibitions, along with exclusive interactive installations inspire visitors and residents to push the boundaries of creativity. Additionally, Port Experiences sponsors and hosts events across San Diego Bay, including organized runs, parades, cultural festivals, concerts and more.