Judging the boats & Tips for Participants


• Participating boats are judged in two divisions: Sail and Power.

• Boats are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 by several judges on the following categories.

    1. ANIMATION and SPECIAL EFFECTS (music, lighting displays)

• Scores are tallied in each division to determine first, second, and third place for that division.

• The boat with the highest total score regardless of division will be named Best in Show.


• No displays using lasers are permitted by the Coast Guard.

• Past winners consistently use a high density, or number, of lights.

• Since the boats travel the harbor in a counter-clockwise direction, some owners only decorate their vessel’s starboard side. That is all that the spectators and judges will see.


• The Registration Form is available at this website. All entries must be received by the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs by 4:00p.m. Wednesday, December 6, 2017.

• Captains are expected to attend a pre-parade meeting on Wednesday December 6, 2017 at 6:00pm at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St. downtown. Important parade details will be addressed.

• Registration includes invitation to the Captain’s Party the following day

• The Captain of every boat is responsible for the safety of those on board.

The Parade of Boats event is produced by the City of Charleston and the Charleston Sail and Power Squadron.

webpage last updated October 27, 2017

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