30 Pontoon Decoration & Party Ideas For a Boat Parade

pontoon decoration ideas for a boat parade

Decorating your boat for a party or parade is up there with decorating your house for Christmas.

There more extravagant, over-the-top and flashy you can get, the better, especially if you have entered a competition and want a fighting chance of winning. 

Here are some great pontoon decoration and party ideas for a boat parade that we know you’ll love. 

The Lego Boat.

Lego Boat Decoration

Can be made with brightly-colored fabric embossed with circular raised areas to emulate the look of this famous toy. 

Have everyone wear outfits in basic colors, like red, blue and green,

2. Peace out with a hippy-style pontoon.

Hippy Pontoon Decoration

Are you a hippy at heart? If so, why not channel your inner peace child and decorate your pontoon as a sixties Volkswagen van (the ultimate hippy vehicle)?

All you need to do is create a mural for the front that resembles an old-style Volkswagen van and then decorate the sides with peace signs and flowers. 

Of course, it will help if the folks on the pontoon are wearing hippie-style clothing (think tie-dye shirts and bell-bottomed jeans). 

3. The Mississippi steamer.

Mississippi Steamer Pontoon Model

You can’t get more southern than a steamer slowly making its way down the Mississippi River. 

Your pontoon doesn’t have to be sailing along this famous river to look like a typical Mississippi steamer: simply construct a replica of a steamer’s water wheel, attach it to your pontoon and then decorate with flags, balloons and streamers. 

4. The horse and carriage.


If you love all things to do with the old Wild West, you are going to love this idea for a pontoon decoration idea! 

Your pontoon can be decorated to look like an old American-style horse and carriage by creating a shelter at the back with a large white or tan sheet, fake wooden wheels on the sides and, naturally, two galloping horses in the front (made with sturdy, laminated cardboard). 

5. The bat mobile.

Bat Mobile Pontoon

Fans of Batman can take their love for this iconic superhero one step further by fashioning their very own bat mobile that actually floats on water! 

Yes, we know that it’s not the real bat mobile, but if you decorate it carefully and thoughtfully with black fabric on the sides, batman’s face on the front and the batman logo scattered around, it will look like a very close replica. 

What could be better than participating in a parade in a superhero’s vehicle? 

6. Cloud boat.

Cloud Boat

Although this idea may seem quite simple, its effect is beautiful and dreamlike and won’t cost you an arm and a leg, either.

To make your boat look like a cloud floating down the river, all you need to do is attach several dozen, white and blue balloons to the sides, front and back, and you have what looks strikingly similar to a cloud. It’s simply genius! 

7. Noah’s ark.

Yourite social media pontoon

Want to feel what it’s like to have your very own, Noah’s ark? Why not turn your boat into one that features an interesting zoo? 

This decorating idea is quite elaborate but will be well worth it in the end. It involves constructing a brown, “ark-like” shape to place around the sides of your boat. You can then make a series of fake animals (in pairs, of course) and you are good to go and well on your way to winning first prize in the parade. 

8. Pirate’s boat.

8. Pirate’s boat.

A pirate’s boat gives an impression of being scary, dangerous and oh-so badass. 

Turn your boat or pontoon into a pirate’s vessel by hanging a flag with a skull and crossbones and making an old-fashioned boat structure to attach to the sides to make it look like you own a pirate’s vessel. 

Remember to have everyone on the boat dress up as pirates and perhaps include a few constructions that look like treasure chests.

9. All lit up.

All lit up Boat Parade

Sometimes, when it comes to decorating, less is definitely more and can look sophisticated, minimalistic and elegant. 

If your parade will take place at night, illuminating your boat or pontoon with some pretty string lights can have a beautiful effect. 

These can be purchased at your local big box or household store and you can choose from a wide range of colors and flashing options. 

Wind the lights around your boat, along the edges and anywhere you feel would look pretty and then wait for night to fall to allow your boat to shine in its full glory. 

10. The Unicorn.


Unicorns have been gaining in popularity over the past few years and although they are only a fictional character, this hasn’t stopped folks from decorating their homes, cars and more with unicorns. 

For unicorn fans, you will love decorating your boat or pontoon to look like a great, big unicorn! 

This will take a lot of hard work, so be sure to round up your friends for help. 

It involves constructing a large, unicorn front, complete with horn, and then decorating the sides of your boat in the same color. 

Floating down the river in a giant unicorn could be a life-changing experience and puts you in a good position for winning the parade! 

11. The Jailhouse.


Constructing a simple jailhouse for your boat is actually easier than you think. 

You will need to make a giant “cage” with the words “jailhouse” or “county jail” on the top and then place it onto your boat or pontoon. 

All that remains is for your and your friends to get into the cage and appear to the rest of the world that you are in jail! 

Simple yet effective.

12. 911 tribute.


No one will ever forget the tragic events that took place on 911. 

If this day is close to your heart and you would like to honor those who lost their lives or were injured on this horrific day, why not consider making your own tribute? 

You may want to construct two twin towers out of cardboard and then write your own, meaningful message on a sheet that you attach to the side. 

13. Your favorite movie.

Movie pontoon decoration

If you are struggling to come up with an innovative idea for your upcoming boat parade, you could think about decorating according to your favorite movie. 

Obviously, it will need to be a movie that most people recognize so that it has maximum impact, but this should be easy.

A free ideas include, “Dirty Dancing”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “Spiderman”, etc. 

Once you have decided on a movie theme, your decorating can take on any form. For instance, you could attach movie posters to a large rectangular construction that you make and then include key items that were featured in the move (such as a yellow brick road, in the case of “The Wizard of Oz”). 

Take it a step further and ask your friends to dress up like the movie’s characters and you have the winning formula!

14. American Eagle.

14. American Eagle.

Turning your boat into a huge, bald eagle is an excellent idea, especially for 4th of July boat parades. 

You would need to make a large bald eagle’s head and neck and then attach it to the front of your boat.

What you do with the rest of the boat is entirely up to you: you could either make it look like a bald eagle’s body or decorate it in red, white and blue streamers and flags. 

15. Your favorite cartoon character.

cartoon themed pontoon

Most people have a favorite cartoon character that they continue to love well into adulthood. 

You could pay homage to your favorite cartoon character by turning your boat into Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh, etc. 

Since most cartoon characters have one or two basic colors, keep this in mind when making your decorations. 

Your cartoon caracter boat or pontoon will be well-liked by both young and old.

16. The political boat.

Political Boat

Bringing politics into a parade or a way of decorating your boat is bound to elicit some controversy but if you do it tastefully and do your best not to offend anyone, you should be fine. 

Ideas for decorating your boat or pontoon with a political theme, could involve having the words of your favorite politician or political party written clearly on the sides of the boat and decorating according to the party’s color scheme. 

If you feel like inserting a bit of humor into your decorating, you may want to construct the head of your favorite politician and then attach it to the front of your boat. This could go either way, depending on your audience, so think carefully before deciding on a political theme.

17. Harry Potter.

Harry potter Boat Ideas

There are very few movies that have the same number of fans that Harry Potter does. 

The first Harry Potter movie was released about twenty years ago but this has not dampened the spirit of its fans!

If you happen to be one of the millions of Harry Potter fans in the world, decorating your boat or pontoon accordingly could seem like the natural choice. 

We recommend creating a bright and clear Hogwarts sign and perhaps having a statue of Harry Potter himself on the boat to reinforce the theme. 

Make it mandatory for everyone on the boat to wear Harry Potter-like spectacles and you have a great chance of winning. 

18. Christmas scene.


Everyone loves the magic of Christmas and some even wish it could be Christmas throughout the year. 

Sound like you? Even if it may be June and far away from Christmas, this doesn’t stop you from having an over-the-top Christmas theme for your boat or pontoon. 

Think about having a few Christmas trees, giant candy canes, Christmas lights, a real-life Santa Claus and a few naughty elves. Top it all off with some eggnog and some yummy Christmas cookies. 

19. The love boat.

love boat idea

If your boat parade will be taking place around Valentine’s Day, the natural choice would be to have a romantic theme.

However, it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for you to have your own love boat. 

Folks who are romantics at heart will find creating a love boat quite easy: all you need to do is have a red, white and pink color theme and then fill your boat with anything heart-shaped. 

Red, white and pink balloons are a great idea, as is a giant red heart and a few cupid constructions. 

Don’t forget the champagne and chocolates, though. 

20. Your company’s theme.

company theme boat parade

If you are allowed to advertise a brand in your boat parade, why not make the most of it and advertise your own company? 

It may not win any prizes as this is a rather boring way of decorating, but you will definitely get the word out about your business and may even get a few sales as a result.

As long as you have some eye-catching marketing material (such as banners, signs posters), decorating according to your company’s theme should be quite easy. Just remember to keep the color theme consistent and have a few, enthusiastic employees on your boat to help create excitement!

21. Honoring our veterans.

Honoring Our Veterans Boat

Most country’s in the world have a soft spot for their veterans, who have served in wars and helped protect their citizens.

Pay homage to your country’s veterans by constructing a fake army tank, navy boat or air force plane that you attach around your boat. 

Then, make a large sign honoring your veterans. The sign could read, “Thank you veterans” or something along those lines. 

22. The best sports team.

Sports Team Pontoon Idea

There can be no loyalty as fierce as someone’s bond with their favorite sports team. 

Whether you love a certain football, baseball, basketball or rugby team, let the world know how much you love them by decorating your boat or pontoon in your team’s colors, their memorabilia and a huge sign with the name of your team. 

This may elicit a few boos, but, at the same time, there will be many people who cheer at you, too. 

Complete the theme by dressing up in your team’s uniform and get a dozen friends to do the same. 

23.Supporting your most well-loved charity.

Charity Boat Parade

Feel like doing something for the greater good? If your parade will give a monetary prize to the best-decorated boat, why not consider decorating it in your favorite charity’s theme and then, if you win, you could donate the money to them? 

Even if you don’t win, decorating for charity could help to raise awareness and encourage others to donate money to them. 

Consider making a massive sign with your charity’s name and then decorating with balloons and streamers in their color scheme. 

24. The fishing boat with a difference.

Fishing Pontoon Decoration

It is hard to put a number on just how many fishing enthusiasts there are in the world, but there are certainly many of them. 

If you are a fishing enthusiast, you most likely use your boat to go fishing. However, folks won’t necessarily know this unless you explicitly advertise the fact. 

To decorate your boat or pontoon with a fishing theme, you could gather about 10 or 20 fishing rods and display them prominently on your boat.Then, to complete the look, make a few large fake fish and display some bait. 

Simple, easy and fun! 

25. Your city’s skyline.

Skyline Boat parade

Love the city in which you live? If you will be participating in a boat parade soon, you might want to consider showcasing this love by decorating your boat or pontoon in your city’s skyline. 

This will involve making a large and intricate replica of the skyline, which can be quite time-consuming but really enjoyable. 

If your city is famous for anything (eg. New York is famous for being the Big Apple), include this as well and then display the name of your city clearly on the side of your boat. 

26. Your favorite social media platform.

Yourite  social media pontoon

With a large portion of the world being on at least one social media platform, it is easy to recognize it if your boat is decorated accordingly. 

This is an excellent idea, especially if you are someone who spends a lot of time on a specific social media platform and have a special place in your heart for it. 

An example of this kinds of decorating could be a Facebook theme, which would be blue and white. You could then make a few constructions resembling a timeline, profile page and Facebook status, complete with comments and likes. 

Have everyone on your boat dress up as a specific element of the social media platform and the result is a fun and playful theme that is sure to be popular. 

We have only managed to find a decoration idea that throws you away from social media and love life and beer. Who are we to argue?

27. The sushi boat.

Sushi Boat Decoration

Love sushi and still battling to come up with an innovative theme for your boat in the parade? 

Dress your boat up as a piece of sushi! All you need to do is make a sushi-type construction, attach it to your boat and then think about how you can expand this theme further. 

We recommend making a few pairs of fake chopsticks or some soy sauce or wasabi pieces. 

Of course, you should not forget to have plenty if sushi on board and make sure that everyone can see you enjoying this popular delicacy as you sail by. 

28. Star Wars.


There are so many Star Wars theme out there but very few will actually think of decorating their boat in that theme. 

Jump on this unique idea by making a simple black covering for the bottom of your boat that features the Star Wars logo and perhaps a saying like, “Welcome to to dark side”. 

You could also construct a Star Wars vessel to attach to the front of your boat and then dress up as Star Wars characters. 

You will have as much fun decorating your boat as you have participating in the parade!

29. In the bathtub.

Bathtub pontoon

For something a little quirky and different, the bathtub theme is ideal!

It also doesn’t involve a lot of elaborate decorating, just a lot of white balloons (to resemble bubble bath foam) and then perhaps a shower curtain or shower construction. 

Have everyone on your boat dress up in shower caps and hold back brushes or washcloths and you can be sure to receive a lot of enthusiasm from the crowd.

30. The train.

The train pontoon

You might own a boat or pontoon, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t like other modes of transport, such as trains! 

Your boat could look really humorous if you were to decorate it to look like a train. 

You will need to create a large piece for the sides and front that looks like your favorite kind of train, and then dress up as a train conductor or driver.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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