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The Annual Gilbert Island Holiday Boat Parade

Click on this picture to be directed to the pictures of previous Holiday Boat Parades

Ok, so the Arizona temperatures are back in double digits and we are thinking of our Holiday Boat Parade..... never too early to start planning for the famous Gilbert Islands Holiday Boat Parade, held on our 3 lakes, in The Islands of Gilbert, AZ. What a better way to think cool, and to appreciate one of the special reasons for living in "The Islands".Give the Gift that Keeps on Fizzing

Terry and Lynn Franks are the co-ordinators for The Islands Holiday Boat Parades this year, working with the Lake 1 & Lake 2 Captains listed below.

For the best ways  to prepare your boat for the parade, and common sense ideas on how to best enjoy the parade, here is the reprint of Steve Gifford's article on getting your boat ready for The Island's parade.

2013 Holiday Boat Parade Timetable

Winter Wonderland
Saturday, December 14 from 3:30pm-6pm

Oh what fun! Come and join us for a snow day! Santa Claus is coming! Your family is invited. For festivities and good cheer, come enjoy the magic right here!

Sweets and treats, hot cocoa and maybe even a little mistletoe! Just set your sights on the holiday lights, and follow the reindeer to the one and only site! Join us at the Community Park for snow, decorate your own cookie craft, hot cocoa, train rides, visits with Santa and the Holiday Lights Boat Parade!

Parents: Please be sure to remember your camera to capture special moments! Dress your children warmly, and please bring cash for the hot cocoa, cookies, and train rides. You may also want to bring a blanket to sit on if you’re watching the boat parade.

Holiday Lights Boat Parade will begin at 6pm. This year, all three lakes will participate in this Islands tradition on the same night! You may watch the parade from any of the grass inlets throughout the community. For Lake 3, you may want to consider using the Community Park.

For residents who wish to participate in the boat parade

LAKE 1 (North, Fountain)

The Annual Lake One Christmas Boat Parade will begin at 6pm.

Assemble at the Fountain at 5:45pm
Come and meet Santa up at the fountain 5:45pm – 6:30pm
Questions please contact:

Kenn Wittock

LAKE 2 (Middle)
The Lake 2 Holiday/Christmas Boat Parade will begin at 7:00pm. Assemble for the parade in the Warner Rd. Lagoon at 6:50pm
Questions please contact:
Warren Fry

LAKE 3 (South, Community Park)

The Lake 3 Parade will begin at 6:00pm. Boats assemble at 5:45pm in the center of the lake facing Warner with the park to the left.

Questions please contact:
Lynne & Terry Franks


Boat Lighting Hints

By careful planning, your boat can look good and complete the entire parade. The first step is making sure that your batteries are fully charged and in good condition. A few months before the parade check the acid level in the batteries. If the acid level is low, then fill each cell of the battery with distilled water until within 0.5 inch of the top. Also, wipe off batteries and keep them clean. Maintain a full charge of the batteries until the parade.

The second step is to install lights on your boat. Typically, a boat will require 400-1000 small lights (120 VAC) to look good. Each light requires 0.5 Watt of power, and a typical boat will required 200-500 Watts. At the dock, the lights can be plugged into a 120 VAC receptacle, but during the parade an alternate 120 VAC power source is required. A popular method for heavily decorated boats is the use of a 120 VAC generator rated at 1KW that runs off regular gasoline, which can be rented or purchased. One drawback is the loud noise created from the internal combustion engine. The inexpensive generators tend to be loud. A recommended generator is the Honda 1000 which is quieter than most, and costs approximately $600.

Another method is to use a power inverter that converts battery power (12VDC) to 120 VAC. The rating on the power inverter should be 300-700 Watts for suitable illumination, and should produce the modified sine-wave output or better. Note, manufacturers tend to over-rate the capacity, i.e. a 400 watt inverter is good for 300 watts continuous. The power inverter requires substantial battery power. For example, to illuminate 400 Watts of lights the battery current draw is approximately 40 amps. This current draw can deplete a fully charged battery in less than 1 or 2 hours. Thus, you may want to power the lights with an auxiliary battery that is independent of the normal boat batteries.

Consider using as much of the new LED lighting systems as possible. These are more spectacular on the water, resistant to vibrations and a 500W inverter should be able to power a boatload of LED lights, with a minimum drain on the batteries.

Once you have the batteries and lights all setup, it's time to test the system with a wet run. Take the boat out a couple of weekends before the parade. Run the power as you plan to do during the parade for approximately 15 minutes. Make sure you don't deplete the batteries too much for this test. If you do, recharging the batteries make take a couple of weeks. Check to make sure that the boat is operating properly and check the wiring of the boat and the lighting power system for overheating by touching the wiring at critical locations quickly. Check connectors, terminal lugs, splices, fuses, switches for heating problems. If you have a problem with overheated terminals, you may want to re-terminate and solder to get a secure connection. When you get back to the dock make sure you plug in the battery charger. Careful planning and testing will ensure that you and your boat guests have the maximum amount of fun during the holiday parade.

Start your Jingle-Bells!


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Last modified: November 29, 2013