Seafood Cruise Mooloolaba Premier Floating Restaurant and Venue Sunshine Coast



WHEN: Saturday 15th December 2012!

START: From 12.30pm to 4.30pm - Afternoon Activities with Sunshine Coast Dragon Boats at Helen Penny Gardens. 6.30pm to 8.30pm Boat Parade - viewing locations recommeneded (see Viewing).




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Advice from a qualified electrician


Disclaimer: This is general advice only. Anything specific, please contact your local electrician or one of our teams of electrical contractors.

seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat paradeYou've got thousands of Christmas lights yet you have no idea how many can be plugged into a typical wall socket.  We're here to help.
Let's use a simple electrical formula.  Power (in watts) = Voltage (in volts) times Current (in amperes)(I) or P=VI. In Australia, a typical power outlet is 240 volts. Your power outlet is usually wired in parallel to several others and connected to some sort of circuit breaker or fuse, usually 20 amps.  Your goal is to not overload the circuit breaker/fuse.  It's good practice to never put more than 80% load on your breakers/fuses... strictly as a safety measure. 

A good practice is work out which outlets are connected to which breakers/fuses at your switchboard. The easiest way to find out is plug a radio in and turn it up pretty loud.  Go to you electrical switchboard and start turning off circuit breakers or removing fuses.  When the radio stops making noise, you're on the right circuit.  The breaker/fuse will tell you how much current that circuit can handle. You may already have an extra circuit installed just for lighting. If you have a 20 amp circuit with 240 volts and factor in an 80% load, using the P=VI equation (P=VxIx0.8) you can have a total load of (240x20x0.8)= 3840 watts.

All lighting has some form of power indication on it, sometimes it’s only on the box that it comes in. Normally it is written e.g. 100W or 100 watts, on transformers it may be written this way 100VA. They all mean the same, transformers this isn’t a 100% true reading but for calculation purposes this will be fine.

Now that you have worked out how much power you are going to use, you need to be able to get that power safely to those lights.

Angel Xmas LightsIf only it was as easy as stringing a bunch of extension cords together.  Sometimes this actually works, but as your light display grows you have to start factoring in the size and length of all that wire.  You can think of electrical wire to be like water pipes.  If you wanted to fill a swimming pool, which would you rather use:  a 25mm pipe or a 50mm pipe. The bigger the pipe, the more water it can carry.  This is true for an electrical wire.  If you have to power a large load, you need a large wire. 

But there's another factor most people don't consider: friction.  Just because you have a 50mm pipe to fill that pool, if the pipe is several metres long, the friction of the water against the inside of the pipe will give you just a fraction of what you want at the output.  The same is for electricity except you have voltage drop over long distances. What you get at the end of that extension cord is a factor of both wire size and wire distance.  If the wire is too small and the load is too large, you can end up with the wire heating up (because of too much electron friction inside).  Likewise, if you have a small load but it is several metres away, you'll have less voltage to use at the end of that long wire.

seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat parade lightsMost common extension leads are sufficient for the job depending on the above factors. This is electricity we are talking about, sometimes there is no second chance if something goes wrong. Remember if you join 2 or more leads together then that is considered as on lead, and always keep all connections dry from any damp weather. Always try to oversize your wire or extension leads. Trying to get by with wire that's too small for any reason will cause trouble.  Use the following chart as a good starting point.





Cord extension rating

Conductor Area

Maximum Length


























Do’s and Dont's of keeping it all safe

Each year, accidents occur from the improper use and storage of Christmas lights. Follow these tips to best protect yourself:

  • Take out your strings of lights and carefully untangle them.
  • Take time to inspect your lights before plugging them in. Check for cracks in cord insulation or socket. Look for places where the wires are bare or broken.
  • Throw away suspect or damaged strings. Minor cracks can be temporarily repaired with electricians tape. Discard all damaged outdoor light strands, regardless.
  • Always unplug your lights before changing bulbs.
  • Replace burnt out bulbs immediately. Always use replacement bulbs of the same voltage/wattage as the entire string.
  • If your string has "push in" bulbs, don't twist or screw them - pull them straight out.
  • Do not use indoor lights outdoors.
  • Do not overload wall sockets. Be aware of power drains from extra appliances and common circuits. Use different sockets around the house to plug in multiple lights to balance the load.
  • Set lights to a timer system so that they turn on and off, or be certain to shut off lights when you are asleep or not at home
  • Limit continuous usage of lights to avoid overheating.
  • Hang lights and lamps so that they are not in contact with branches, paper, ornaments, decorations or other flammable items.
Select the Right Christmas lights

Basically there are two types of decorative Christmas lights - those you use inside and those you use outside. The most important thing is to always use the right type of lighting for your particular application and if you are shopping for new lights, make sure you read the package about their suitability for your purposes.


Outside the Home or Business


There are four main types of decorative lighting that you might safely use for Christmas decorations outside the home or business or in the garden:-
Rope Lighting, Fairy Lighting, Festoon Lighting, and Light Sculptures/Novelty Items.

Rope Lighting

seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat parade festiveRope lighting is comprised of tiny globes on a single insulated wire encased in a flexible plastic tube. While the lights and wire might look similar to indoor tree lighting, the plastic tube itself is acting as an additional electrical insulator. Most rope lighting sets will also come with a transformer which converts the 240 volt supply to a safer extra low voltage. These two factors make this form of Christmas lighting suitable for safe use outdoors.

1. Always check the tubing for signs of cracking - it may not be resistant to long term UV exposure and may become brittle and crack.
2. Always handle with care - this form of lighting is quite fragile

Fairy Lighting

seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat paradeFairy lighting is made up of strands of tiny globe holders (sometimes encapsulated), with wiring that is made of rugged, high impact plastic which is UV stabilised for weather resistance. These lights look similar to inside Christmas lights, but are supplied with a transformer to convert from 240 volts to the safer extra low voltage. Fairy lights are inexpensive to run, easy to install and are safe to operate outdoors for decorating garden trees, pergolas and other exterior displays.

1. Always handle with care - this form of lighting is quite fragile.
2. Never prune or trim shrubs or trees while they are decorated with fairy lights - the green cables are hard to see and could be cut.

Festoon Lighting

seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat parade james thorogoodFestoon lighting, also called party lighting, is made up of normal coloured globes of 15 to 40 watts connected on normal thickness 'double insulated' wiring. This form of lighting is much more robust and operates directly from the 240 volt supply. Always have these lights installed by a licensed electrical contractor if they are a permanent exterior lighting fixture. 


Light Sculptures

seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat parade renee underhillLight sculptures or novelty items are similar to fairy lights or rope lighting, but they are sold in pre-formed shapes such as stars, reindeer, sleighs and bells. There are some on the market that are designed to be put INSIDE a window - they should not be used outside because they are not adequately insulated. It is possible to create your own shape by twisting wire and then taping fairy lights to the shape you have created.

  1. Always ensure that the sculpture is designed for outside use - it should have a transformer to convert 240 volts to extra low voltage.
  2. All outdoor Christmas lighting can be used safely indoors.

These general safety hints apply to all outside Christmas lighting:

  1. Always have transformers and light chasing controllers indoors where they will not be exposed to weather, unless they are designed and marked as suitable for outdoor use.
  2. Never use nails or other methods of attaching lights that could damage the insulation/wiring - use tape or string, or suspend with cup hooks or cable ties.
  3. Always replace broken globes/bulbs immediately - turn off and unplug the lights first. Never use lights on or near metal foil parts from Christmas trees or tree decorations.
Extension Cords, Double Adaptors and Power Boards

Angel Xmas Lights seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat parade

There are several important safety points to remember when you start stringing Christmas lights around the home or office, using extension cords, double adaptors or power boards to provide power to 'not so usual' locations.

  • Always fully unwind extension cords to avoid overheating.
  • Always use cords long enough for the job so you don't have to join them together, but make sure you don't exceed the maximum safe length - if the cord needs to be longer than 25 metres, check with a licensed electrical contractor. You may need to have a general purpose outlet installed.
  • Never use extension cords where they could be splashed or fall into water or during wet weather - if one does get wet, switch it off at the power point, unplug it, dry it out and have it checked for any permanent damage.
  • Never lay extension cords on the ground where they can be walked on or driven over by a vehicle. There is the hazard of tripping over them and also the possibility of crushing or damaging the insulation. Preferably cords should be suspended 2.5 metres (about 8 foot) above the ground, attached to other fixtures by taping or cable ties or similar.
  • Always look for situations where physical damage to the cord could occur, such as sliding doors, which could damage the insulation and expose live conductors.
  • Never use twin flex (two wires) as an extension cord - always use a cord which has earth, active and neutral wires and a 3-pin plug and socket.
  • Never improvise or interfere with electrical wiring or equipment and never do your own electrical work - always use a licensed electrical contractor for fixed installations and repairs.
  • Never overload an extension cord - a 7.5 amp extension cord can supply a maximum of only 45, 40 watt globes.
  • Never overload an individual power point which is generally designed for 2400 watts (i.e. 10 amps) - to work this out for yourself, divide the total wattage (2400 watts) by the wattage of each individual globe to tell you how many globes you can operate off the power point. For example, 2400 watts is equivalent to about only 95, 25 watt globes (most typically festoon lighting). A set of fairy lights with only 0.25 watt globes is equivalent to only 45 watts.
Safety Switches

seafood cruise mooloolaba xmas christmas boat parade angelSafety switches (also known by consumers as a Residual Current Device', RCD). Safety Switches provide extra protection against electrocution and fire. Safety switches save lives in most situations, however they may not in some cases.

1. It is strongly recommended that Christmas lights are plugged into a power point protected by a Safety Switch - if your home is not protected by a Safety Switch, look at buying a portable Safety Switch which will protect portable electrical appliances and extension cords plugged into the Safety Switch.
2. It is strongly recommended that electrical equipment used outside is connected to an earthed power point protected by a Safety Switch Do not take chances - there is no substitute for the wise and safe use of electricity.

In the event an electric shock occurs, follow these emergency safety tips:

  • Do not touch the victim while connection to the electrical source is still a peril.
  • Turn off the power at the fuse or breaker level if possible. If someone is still attached to the electricity, use a branch or plastic broom to push them off. Ensure the item you use isn't conductive.
Call for Emergency Medical Aid 000


Information Courtesy of Angel Xmas Lights


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