Boats adorned with Christmas lights cruise Willows Beach during the 2016 Sea of Lights sailing. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Annual Sea of Lights boat parade cruises Oak Bay, Saanich shoreline

Parade date set for Friday, Dec. 6 at Willows and Caddy Bay beaches

The Sea of Lights yacht parade will sail along the shores of Oak Bay again this holiday season.

Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s annual holiday activity is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6, starting at 6:45 p.m. This parade of lighted boats started in 2006 as part of Oak Bay’s Centennial.

Sea of Lights organizer Andrew McBride wrapping his mast with Christmas lights. (Black Press Media File Photo)

READ MORE: The countdown begins as Christmas lights appear on Oak Bay Avenue

About 20 boats are expected this year, said organizer Andrew McBride, including the lead ship from the Canadian Navy.

“The event is expected to again attract several thousand spectators to Gyro Park beach and Willows Beach, where judging of the best-lit boats takes place,” McBride said. “Also, many waterfront residents in Cadboro [Bay] and Oak Bay use this colourful event as the ‘kick-off’ to their Christmas social calendar.”

While the event is designed as a chance for families to gather on either beach and enjoy for free, the public is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or other donation to the Kiwanis or the Salvation Army. It all starts with the fleet leaving RVYC at 6:45 p.m. and passing Cattle Point at approximately 7 p.m.

Viewing at Willows Beach is ideal and is targeted for about 7:15 p.m. The Kiwanis Willows Beach pavilion will serve hot chocolate by donation and the Oak Bay Fire Department will organize a fair-sized bonfire to keep beachgoers warm. Later, at about 7:45 p.m., the fleet will cruise Cadboro Bay’s Gyro Park beach where hot chocolate and coffee donated by Cadboro Bay merchants will be served by the 12th Garry Oaks Sea Scouts.

The event is organized in partnership with the districts of Oak Bay and Saanich, the Victoria and Oak Bay Sea Rescue Societies and the Maritime Forces Pacific, and supports the Salvation Army Christmas Fund and the Oak Bay Kiwanis.


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