Drop anchor and uncork a good bubbly—Fleet Week is upon us.
Every year, come the first of October, the Bay Area braces for the thundering fly-bys of the Blue Angels—
going down buzzing past this year Friday through Sunday, October 5th through 7th. What better vantage point to view the firework shows, fighter-jet acrobatics, and other naval shenanigans than from the bow of your very own seagoing vessel?
Here's how to make sure you can rent a boat for Fleet Week.
Think of Boatsetter as Airbnb meets Bass Pro Shop. Fish harborside, cruise the bay, and toast to Fleet Week from your rented yacht of choice. Better yet, you can choose a charter with a captain, in case a seasoned commander doesn't exist among your inner circle. Reservations (starting at $500 per 4-hour charter) can be made in advance or same-day, and most Bay Area rentals can host six or more people. // boatsetter.com
Whether you'd like to calmly cruise around the Bay atop a sailboat or charge toward the open ocean in a powerboat, Passage Nautical has a charter to suite your fancy. Drinks—which include bottled water, craft sodas, and full-on ABV options—are included in both half-day (four hour) and full-day (eight hour) chartered rentals. Reservations (starting at $500 per 4-hour charter) can be booked as late as the day before your outing, depending on availability, with a max of 12 people allowed per reservation. // 423 Water St. (Oakland), passagenautical.com
Captain San Francisco Sailing Charters
Sailing and bottomless wine—what more could you ask for? Specializing in sailboats, the seamen and women at Captain San Francisco are well known for steering their passengers toward sublime sunsets and swim-worthy waters just off McCovey Cove. For the biggest bang for your buck, take advantage of their weekday specials: Reservations (starting at $299 per 2-hour charter) must be made a few days in advance; a max of six people are allowed on each ship. // 2930 Lyon St. (Marina), captainsanfrancisco.com
SF Bay Adventures
This veteran, super-inclusive charter service has been taking both locals and tourists out on the water for more than 20 years. In fact, many tear-jerking same-sex marriage ceremonies have been officiated on board their luxury yachts. Individual reservations (starting at $50 per 3-hour charter) can be made on Eventbrite. // Suite B2A, 1001 Bridgeway (Sausalito), sfbayadventures.com
Much like Boatsetter, this person-to-person rental service removes the middleman and gets you on the water ASAP. From paddle boards to fishing charters (and even overnight excursions on sleep-aboard yachts), there's little you won't find available to rent for the day on GetMyBoat. But be sure you know the exact times and dates you're planning on chartering; GetMyBoat service fees are pay-by-the-hour, as opposed to by the day. Reservations (starting at $110) can be made in advance or same-day, with most Bay Area rentals accommodating at least six people per reservation. // getmyboat.com
This article has been updated for 2018.