Parade of Ships and Ship Tours

SF Fleet Week returns in 2022: Oct 2-10

Parade of Ships: Friday of Fleet Week, October 7, 2022, at 11:00 am.

Ship Tours: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10 am-4 pm, Monday 9 am-12 pm.  See below for ship schedules and locations.

Note: ships and docking locations aren't announced now until the ships are at the docks.

Parade of Ships

To kick off Fleet Week in San Francisco, the Navy sends a line of ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and past the waterfront area.

Parade of Ships, with a destroyer sailing past the San Francisco skyline in 1981The Parade of Ships in 1981

The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. on Friday of Fleet Week, October 7, 2022, with the first ship passing under the bridge, followed by the remaining ships.

The procession usually continues for an hour or two.

Best Places to Watch

There is a good view of the ships anywhere along the waterfront from the bridge itself to the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street.

Fleet Week Ship Tours 

The names of the ships and the viewing locations aren't announced until the ships are in place at the docks (for security reasons).

Go On Board the Ships

Each year, typically five of the Navy ships have open houses. The public is invited to go aboard, meet the sailors and explore the war ships: pretty cool.

Advice for every year: this is very popular, so go early if you can. Expect some serious lines. Ship tours are free.

Important: be sure to check out the Navy's requirements for visiting the ships, e.g. no children under 7, government-issued, photo ID's required for all 18 and over, no high heels, no large backpacks or large purses (what = "large"?), no glass containers, no pets including service animals, etc.

Plus, there is no storage area for bicycles, skateboards, or strollers, and they can't be left on the pier near the ships.

See current status on the official Fleet Week site for more info.

In 2021, masks but not vaccinations were required to board the ships.

SF Fleet week, ship tour of USS Stockdale, guided missile destroyer. On the deck, flags waving.On the Deck of the USS Stockdale

The individual ships are different each year, but the types of ships from past years are usually represented.

Below is some information from a previous Fleet Week to give you an idea of what kinds of ships will likely be available for 2022 and which docks tend to be used.

To give you an idea of the ships often available:

Ships available for touring (2018)

  • HMCS Vancouver, a Canadian Navy frigate. Pier 15/17.
  • USS Bonhomme Richard, a US Navy amphibious assault ship. Pier 30/32. 
  • USS Manchester, a littoral combat ship. Pier 35.
  • USCG Forrest Rednour, a US Coast Guard cutter. Pier 35.
  • MV Cape Horn, a US Navy ready reserve supply ship. Pier 50.

Ship Tour Schedule: (2018)

Wednesday, Oct 3: 
10 to 2
USS Bonhomme Richard, Piers 30/32 
USS Manchester, Pier 35

Thursday, Oct 4: 10 to 2
USS Bonhomme Richard, Piers 30/32 
USS Manchester, Pier 35

Saturday, Oct 6: 9 to 4
HMCS Vancouver, Piers 15/17
USS Bonhomme Richard, Piers 30/32 
USS Manchester, Pier 35
USCGC Forrest Rednour, Pier 35
MV Cape Horn, Pier 50 (10 to 4)

Sunday, Oct 7: 9 to 4
HMCS Vancouver, Piers 15/17 (9 to 12)
USS Bonhomme Richard, Piers 30/32 

Monday, Oct 8: 9 to 4
HMCS Vancouver, Piers 15/17
USS Bonhomme Richard, Piers 30/32 (9 to 12) 

Piers with Ship Open Houses:

Last year, 2021, the ships were at Piers 30/32 and Pier 35. Sometimes Piers 15/17 and Pier 50 are also used.

Piers 15/17 house the Exploratorium. There's an expensive parking lot across the street.

Parking lot across the street from the Exploratorium, San FranciscoParking Lot at Pier 15

Piers 30 and 32 are at the end of Bryant Street, on the Embarcadero. There is a grand plan to develop this pier into offices and retail spaces, but it hasn't begun yet.

Entrance to parking lot at Piers 30 & 32 in San FranciscoEntrance to Piers 30/32

Pier 35 is used to handle the overflow cruise ships when the Cruise Ship Terminal at Pier 27 is in use. It's not far from Pier 39 and Pier 33 (Alcatraz Landing) so parking is challenging.

Pier 35 San Francisco side view and walkwayPier 35

Pier 50 is one of the "industrial" piers south of the Bay Bridge. It's next door to Pier 48, and there's a huge parking lot in front of both of them that's used for baseball game parking at AT&T Park nearby.

See my page on San Francisco piers for maps of the piers and what's located at each one.

Parking ideas...

For information on parking in the area, see my tips on Embarcadero parking.

Note: I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through some of the links on this page, at no extra cost to you. This helps me provide all the free information I post on this website.

Another parking option is to book a parking spot in advance through one of the parking apps. I've been using them more and more; you can try Spot Hero for the best possibilities.

I took a look about a week in advance one year and found places available at the huge AT&T lot near Pier 50 (one of the ship tour venues).

Pier 35 usually hosts one of the ships and is right in the heart of things, near Pier 39 and Alcatraz Landing (Pier 33). This area will probably book up the fastest.

The Ships with Open Houses in 2018

HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331)

Canadian frigate HMCS Vancouver at sea, aircraft carrier in backgroundThe HMCS Vancouver (in the foreground)

The Vancouver is a Halifax-class frigate built in 1988. The ship is a general-purpose warship, a little bigger than a destroyer, that specializes in anti-submarine warfare.

They generally have a crew of 198 navy personnel and 17 aircrew personnel.

The ship carries helicopters as well as torpedoes for attacking submarines. Also, they have surface-to-air missiles for anti-aircraft defense, and surface-to-surface missiles for ship to ship warfare.

The Vancouver was part of the Canadian and U. S. naval operations conducted in the Middle East after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. After that, the ship has patrolled Canadian waters and taken part in joint exercises in the Pacific with the Australian and U.S navies, and helped with humanitarian efforts after the earthquake in New Zealand in 2016.

MV Cape Horn (TAKR 5068)

USNS supply ship, Bob HopeUSNS Bob Hope (TAKR 300) - (similar ship)

The Cape Horn is part of the ready reserve, a group of ships owned by the US Maritime Administration, and is used as back-up by the US Navy.

These ships are loaded with equipment and supplies and are prepositioned around the world in locations where they may be needed in an emergency.

The ship is berthed normally at Pier 50 in San Francisco, and assigned to the US Navy's Pacific Strategic Sealift Force when activated.

USS Bonhomme  Richard (LHD 6)

The USS Bonhomme Richard is an amphibious assault ship that transports troops, equipment and vehicles for beach landings.

It was named after a famous frigate of the same name operating in the revolutionary war, captained by John Paul Jones of the "I have not yet begun to fight" comment.

The Bonhomme Richard was active in the 2003/2004 Iraq War, and provided relief supplies to Sri Lanka and Indonesia after their earthquakes and tsunamis.  

The ship was also used for filming scenes in the 2012 films Battleship and Act of Valor. It is based in San Diego.   

USS Manchester (LCS 14)

The USS Manchester is a littoral combat ship designed for quick maneuvering close to shore. It can land troops, clear mines, and protect larger ships. The ship also carries missile launchers and helicopters that take off from its deck. 

The USS Manchester is a relatively new addition to the US Navy, built in 2014 and commissioned in 2016. The home port is San Diego. 

USCGC Forrest Rednour (WPC 1129)

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Forrest Rednour is a new ship based in San Pedro, near Los Angeles. 

Her missions include sea rescues, smuggling enforcement, and patrolling port areas. 

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