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Press Release | Dec. 8, 2023

Coast Guard Sector San Diego emphasizes the importance of safety during the San Diego holiday parade of lights

District 11

SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard emphasizes the importance of caution and boating safety practices during San Diego's holiday parade of lights event in San Diego Harbor on Sunday.

This event attracts many vessels and spectators, creating inherent hazards for both participants and onlookers. Those who choose to watch the event from the water should exercise extreme caution, remain aware of their surroundings and the increasing vessel traffic, and ensure that all navigation lights are on, and proper safety equipment is onboard.

Here are some additional safety tips from the Safe Boating Campaign:

- Never operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which contribute to one-third of all recreational boating deaths.

- Check your boating equipment to ensure it is in good working condition.

- Always inform a loved one of your trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and communication equipment onboard before departing.

- Use an engine cut-off switch, a required safety device that stops the powerboat's engine if the operator falls overboard unexpectedly.

- Regularly check the weather forecast before departure and throughout your outing.

- Always remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. In 2022, a quarter of reported boating accidents were caused by operator inattention or failure to properly lookout.

- Know where you're going, be familiar with local boating speed zones and always travel at a safe speed.

- Ensure you can communicate. Cellphones, satellite phones, EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or personal locator beacon, and VHF radios can all be important in an emergency.

For more information about boating safety and to access additional resources, please visit our website at

We encourage all participants and spectators to prioritize safety and adhere to the guidelines provided.

“San Diego’s holiday Parade of Lights highlights our community’s deep connection to the marine environment and those who operate on it,” said Capt. Jim Spitler, Coast Guard Sector San Diego commander. “Due to the traffic diversity and density of this night event on the water, I want all involved to wear a life jacket, remain vigilant, and stay safe!”

The Coast Guard and San Diego County Partnership agencies are committed to ensuring the well-being of everyone involved in the holiday parade of lights event. In case of an emergency, our teams will be prepared and ready to respond promptly.