Becoming a Christmas Ship Captain is not difficult. If you have a boat and the requisite skills, it's not much more difficult than showing up at one of the General Membership/New Member meetings and filling out a participation form. These meetings occur in the fall, prior to the Christmas Ship season.
Your ship does not have to be large, but it does have to be safe. Our only ship requirements are that it meet all current Coast Guard requirements, that you have a VHF radio (handhelds are OK), that you have someone to help crew your boat for the night, and that you carry liability insurance. We have Christmas Ships from 16 to 65 feet in size, from sailboats to power boats, from simple displays of lights to complex animations. But they all share the common trait of being seaworthy, safe and enthused about sharing the holiday spirit.
When you show up to a meeting you will be given the necessary documentation to explain what is involved in Christmas Shipping, a Christmas Ship "owner's manual", so to speak. You will also be personally welcomed into the Christmas Ship fraternity with multiple offers of help by the more experienced Captains who will get you started off on the right foot.
There is no time commitment, even if you can only make it out for one night, you'll still be welcomed to come along. But be warned, you'll find this as addicting as the rest of the ship's crews, and you're more than likely to want to do as many nights as you can. You're going to have fun!
So polish up that gunwhale, grab some lights and come join us in America's longest running Christmas Ship Parade!
Registration for the current Parade season is now closed. We'll re-open entry for the next season in mid-January. Check back then and you'll see sign-up links below.