Opening Day on the Bay

Opening Day on the Bay takes place on the last Sunday in April.

The Blessing of the Fleet is held in Raccoon Strait between Tiburon and Angel Island. Photo by Mia Bernt S/C PICYA


Published: April, 2019


Opening Day on the Bay takes place on the last Sunday in April. This year, it’s on April 28, and it marks the official beginning to the boating season in the Bay Area and an annual celebration of the boating community.


Opening Day on the Bay includes traditional festivities like the Blessing of the Fleet and an official parade of boats along the San Francisco waterfront—but mostly, the day serves as an opportunity for local boating enthusiasts to enjoy a wonderful day on or near the water.


The Blessing of the Fleet, hosted by the Corinthian Yacht Club, takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Raccoon Strait between Angel Island and Tiburon aboard the MV Aurora V. Unfortunately, this portion of the festivities is difficult to view from the shoreline, but many gather at Sam’s Anchor Café in Tiburon to catch a glimpse of the procession.


At noon, the Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association (PICYA), which represents over 100 yacht clubs in Northern California, will present its 102nd annual Decorated Boat Parade. This year’s theme is “Holidays on the Bay,” with boats decorated to depict various holidays—from flag-flying holidays to traditional celebrations, days to honor historic figures and commercially-created calendar holidays. The parade will feature historic workboats, fireboats, towboats, and other classic and contemporary craft decorated to the theme. There will be both power and sailboats competing for best decoration honors.


The Opening Day on the Bay parade route was purposely chosen to allow for very good viewing from San Francisco’s northern shoreline. Between noon and 3 p.m., boats will parade from a point near the Palace of Fine Arts and the St. Francis Yacht Club, along the waterfront passing close to the Marina Green, Gashouse Cove, Fort Mason and Aquatic Park, all the way to Pier 39. The occasion will be a unique opportunity to see these special boats, sailing close to shore where land-based spectators can enjoy the event.


For those who want a front-row seat for this beautiful parade, you can join with about 200 others aboard the official committee boat on the Commodore Cruises vessel Cabernet Sauvignon for a great ride on the Bay, parade commentary, a sit-down lunch and parade viewing. This is the only boat allowed inside the parade route and will have PICYA officers, judges, dignitaries and the grand marshal—but anyone is welcome to purchase a ticket. The boat departs from Commodore Cruise’s home port in Alameda, which has free parking. Tickets are $85 each or $825 for a table of 10.


To join the parade with your vessel or join PICYA on the Commodore Cruises Committee Boat, visit or contact PICYA Staff Commodore Linda Blue at for more information.

The Decorated Boat Parade can be seen from many vantage points along the San Francisco shoreline from Marina Green to Pier 39. Photo by Mia Bernt S/C PICYA