After the disappointment of a ‘no show’ last year, we’re excited to see Fleet Week returning to San Francisco Bay. This annual event has to be one of the highlights of the year, and thousands of people will be descending upon the Bay and foreshores to view the aerial display of the US Navy Blue Angels — this year in their new aircraft, the F-18 Super Hornet. Also on show will be the USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team, Navy Parachute Team, the Red Bull helicopter, Edge 540 plane, the Red Bull Air Force Wingsuit Skydivers, a US Coast Guard Search and Rescue Demonstration, several fixed-wing aircraft flyovers … We’re going to stop trying to list it all here; there’s too much going on and we’re already giddy with excitement (well, maybe just one of us).
Here’s a quick preview of what you could see:
Back to business. The point of this post is to remind everyone that there will be enforced boundaries for boaters on the water. The USCG has circulated information and illustrations of the no-go zones on the Bay this weekend — starting tomorrow, Thursday, October 7.
The first and possibly most simple instruction issued is: “Boaters are reminded to maintain 500-yard distance from all military ships at all times.”
On Friday, October 8, at 11:00 a.m., the Navy Parade of Ships fleet will enter the Bay beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and proceed along the San Francisco waterfront, with San Francisco Fire Department’s fire boat at the lead, shooting water jets into the air to celebrate the fleet’s arrival. The Regulated Area “Alpha” — shown on “Chart 1,” below — will be enforced on Friday, October 8, between 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
The much-anticipated air shows will be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so when planning your time on the water, keep in mind, there will be a lot of boats! Captains will be moving their boats around, vying for the best position. We can tell you from experience that pretty much everywhere is the best position, so don’t fall for the ‘I have to be right in the middle’ idea. These Navy pilots cover nearly every square foot of the sky above the Bay. However, to make it easier, the Coast Guard has suggested the following as the best viewing spots for the air shows and the Parade of Ships:
- North of the “Alpha” box for the parade and north of the “Bravo” box for the air show
- East of Blossom Rock Buoy
- From the shore
Here are a couple of diagrams to show you the weekend’s regulated zones:
Temporary buoys for the Air Show Box should already be in place and will be removed on October 13, 2021. The buoys at the center and northwest corner point will be partially obstructing the eastbound traffic lane, and the buoys at the northeast and southeast corners will be partially encroaching upon the precautionary area east of Alcatraz Island. The locations of the temporary buoys are listed below:
Air Show Box
SW Corner: 37°48.612′ N / 122°26.786′ W
NW Corner: 37°49.113′ N / 122°26.868′ W
NE Corner: 37°49.389′ N / 122°24.354′ W
SE Corner: 37°48.888′ N / 122°24.272′ W
Center: 37°49.008′ N / 122°25.590′ W
Mariners are advised to monitor VHF-FM channel 16 for up-to-date information regarding these regulated areas for safety and security. And rest assured, there will be multiple partner-agency vessels on the water this weekend, so if you do happen to overstep a boundary, they will be very quick to let you know.
Fleet Week also includes numerous shore-based events and viewing opportunities such as ships’ tours, concerts, and multiple displays and demonstrations. You can view the full schedule of events here. And for general Fleet Week information, go to the event’s home page: https://fleetweeksf.org.