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Lake to Light Up for Kaleidoscope Cruise

Boatie Steve Upton installing LED lights on his yacht for Float Your Boat 2023.

A kaleidoscope of colour and creativity is set to sail across Lake Macquarie on Friday and Saturday when the sights and sounds of ‘Float Your Boat’ return.


Vivid vessels decked out in dazzling light displays will cruise close to shore over two evenings on 23 and 24 June, complemented by lakeside live-site activations on Friday night at Toronto and Saturday night at Warners Bay.

Regular participant Steve Upton said finishing touches were being applied throughout the fluorescent fleet in preparation for another interactive technicolour tour.

“It’s fun for the people on the shore. They really get involved when you cruise past in your boat. We do a lot of whistling and waving back to the crowd, they do a lot of whistling and flashing their lights,” he said.

“It’s just a good feel for the whole community and all the boaties enjoy it.”

This year’s flotilla will feature some up-and-comers finding their luminous sea legs, with the Australian Navy Cadets set to make their maiden voyage.

“I’m really excited to see the Cadets taking part, it’s wonderful to see they’re eager to engage with the community, hone their skills and display leadership,” Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said.

The fleet will launch on both evenings from Empire Marina at Marmong Point.

Marina General Manger David Randall said the course had been plotted in readiness to raise the anchors.

“We’re particularly keen to see what the activation site at Toronto will be like, given the recent foreshore upgrade,” he said.

“It’s always fun seeing everyone at these sites, in their backyards with their fires and barbecues running or along the various waterfront points as we go around the lake, and it sounds like there’s going to be some really funky designs coming out this year.

“Don’t forget to give the boats a good flash of your house lights or make some noise as we go by.”

The Toronto and Warners Bay live-sites will feature live music, roaming illuminated performances, food trucks, children’s activities and more to complement the glitz and glam on the water.

Prizes include a $2000 Newcastle Permanent People’s Choice Award and two $1000 Mayor’s Best Boat Awards for a vessel of 10m and over and a 5-10m category.

Members of the public can win $100 for casting a Newcastle Permanent People’s Choice vote.

For more information including maps of the route, viewing points and live sites, and how to vote for your favourite vessel, visit

This event is brought to you by Commander Sponsor Newcastle Permanent.


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