You probably already have the day off for New Year's, so why not kick off 2014 with an eye-opening, brisk plunge into the Atlantic Ocean?

The 14th annual Tybee Polar Plunge kicks off Jan. 1 at the Tybee Island pier and pavilion with the return of the Gang of Goofs Parade at 11 a.m., followed by the plunge at noon.

The event benefits the Tybee Post Theater, and this year's costume contest offers some amazing prizes.

"This year's plunge is built on last year's foundation, but we're definitely kicking it up a notch this year," said Cealan Clifford, director of operations for the Tybee Post Theater.

She's referring to the $500 cash prize for first place in the Gang of Goofs costume contest and the host of other cool prizes for winners of first, second and third place.

For the costume contest, groups of three or more dress up in their craziest costumes and parade their getups in front of a panel of judges.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the base of the Tybee Island pier and promises to be hilariously entertaining. Winners will be announced after the plunge.

The costume contest is free, but each Gang of Goofs member must register for the plunge to compete.

The first-place team will also take home the coveted "Le Goofs" trophy, which will be engraved with the team name and displayed at the location of their choice for a year.

"We have been adding the prizes as we go along," Clifford said. "We've received some pretty great community support."

The list of prizes includes a little bit of everything truly Tybee, from vacation rentals, a Tybee Wine Festival getaway, tours, restaurant gift certificates and kayak rentals. The full list of prizes and rules can be found here.

Price for the plunge is $25 for adults and $15 for children younger than 12, and Tybee Post Theater members get a 10 percent discount.

Registration also includes a Tybee Polar Plunge T-shirt. According to Clifford, online pre-registration ends at midnight on New Year's Eve and on-site registration begins before the parade at 9:30 a.m. at the pier.

Clifford also said organizers expect about 1,000 people to participate this year, so plan on coming early to find a place to park, since parking is limited near the pier.

"I wouldn't recommend day-of registration, but if people want to wait to the last minute, that's okay - I do that too, sometimes," Clifford said.

And if you can't wait to experience Tybee for New Year's Day, then head out the night before the Polar Plunge to see the annual New Year's Eve fireworks display that takes place at midnight at the Tybee pier.

You can hang out at nearby restaurants and watch the light display or sit in the sand at the beach.