San Francisco Fleet Week: Preview
San Francisco Fleet Week has honored the U.S. Armed Forces annually since 1981! In the heart of the city’s Marina District on San Francisco Bay, boaters will enjoy views of San Francisco’s beautiful boats, bay, and other iconic landmarks like Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Here are important event details to keep in mind:
- When: October 3-11, 2022
- Where: The Marina Green
- Who: Boaters, families, group travelers
- Book a rental
See Boat Rentals for San Francisco’s Fleet Week
Outside of the Water: The Air Show
The air show is unique because it’s headlined by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and includes a commercial airliner, the United 777, that performs a fully choreographed act on the waterfront. (Now there’s something you don’t see every day.)
The Parade of Ships along the San Francisco waterfront enters the bay beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and is the largest parade of ships on the entire U.S. West Coast. Viewing is great from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge, with the boats all passing by the reviewing stand at the Marina Green.
If you’re watching from your boat, you’ll know the parade has started when you see the San Francisco Fire Department fireboat out in front, shooting jets of water into the air in celebration of the event.
Another big part of San Francisco Fleet Week is ship tours, which take place at Piers 30/32 and 35 at the Port of San Francisco. The idea is to give attendees an idea about how day-to-day life unfolds on board for members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard who served on amphibious carriers, destroyers, and cruisers.
Boats available for tours are:
- USS Michael Monsoor – A DDG 1000-class guided missile destroyer that can operate independently or as part of strike groups.
- USS John McCain – A DDG 51-class guided missile destroyer.
- USS Rushmore – A dock landing ship that supports amphibious operations such as landing craft and helicopters near hostile shores.
Tours of the ships are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, with all ages welcome as long as an adult accompanies visitors 17 or younger. For security reasons, no large bags or backpacks are allowed (and there’s no place to leave them).
Be mindful that some of these tours are of ships with steep ladders and uneven surfaces.
Attending by Boat
You can read up on boating basics written by Boatsetter’s Pro Boating Team:
Check out San Francisco Fleet Week’s boating tips page as well. This event will have moderate to heavy marine traffic, so it’s important to prepare yourself and know all the useful tips—including staying 500 yards away from U.S. Navy Vessels during the Parade of Ships.
Discover boating events like San Francisco’s Fleet Week at Boating Guides & Resources!
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Kim Kavin has been on boats in more than 50 countries and islands, including in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. She grew up learning to steer a ski boat and Hobie Holder at her grandfather’s lake house in New Jersey, and went on to spend time aboard everything from America’s Cup racing sailboats to submarines.
Kim is a PADI-certified scuba diver and animal lover who always enjoys a good, long look around a coral reef. Her award-winning writing and editing regularly appears in national marine magazines and on leading websites. In her early years, she was a Dow Jones editing intern and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. When she’s not writing, Kim can usually be found hiking northwest New Jersey’s beautiful park trails with her adopted shelter mutt, Ginger.