OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Yacht Club will celebrate Opening Day of the boating season this April 2. The annual tradition assures boaters waterways are free of ice and debris, and kicks off the season with a boat parade.
While mild California weather allows year-round boating with little chance of ice, the yearly tradition has been celebrated by Oceanside Yacht Club for more than 50 years. Locally it marks warmer weather, and the beginning of yacht club sailing lessons.
On Opening Day parade boats are judged on “dress.” Signal flags must be flown from bow to stern. A champagne bottle is required to be hung off the boat’s side and touching the water. Crew members must be dressed in white slacks and blue blazers. It also is customary for the crew to salute the commodore and judges as they pass.
Boaters sometimes add a bit of whimsy and humor to the parade, by spelling out a fun message with alphabet signal flags, or wearing shorts in place of the expected slacks.
Spectators are invited to join the festivities at the Oceanside Yacht Club. Chairs will be set up in the club parking lot for the ceremonies. Club officers will be introduced and boat parade winners will be announced. A champagne brunch follows in the clubhouse.
“It’s a neat way to start out sailing season,” Oceanside Yacht Club Commodore Adam Johnson said.
All along the harbor there will be great views of the sailboat and motorboat parade, which will make two loops around the marina.
Opening Day originated on the East Coast where the sailing season is limited by weather. The tradition is practiced by most yacht clubs.
Neighboring California yacht clubs select different weekends to hold their Opening Day, so boaters can attend regional ceremonies and show their support.
Sunday’s events will take place rain or shine.
Oceanside Yacht Club Opening Day takes place from noon to 4 p.m., April 2. The club is located at 1950 N. Harbor Dr. Boat check in time is 11 a.m.