San Francisco’s annual Lighted Boat Parade returns this Friday, December 16th at 6pm. This beloved holiday event hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club dates back to 1994 and makes for a welcome sight along the waterfront every year.
A procession of about 2 dozen illuminated boats will set sail from Pier 39 around 6pm and cruise along the waterfront to Crissy Field, at which point the boats will turn around and sail back the way they came. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate and get ready to enjoy the festivities all evening long — the boats are expected to sail for about 2-3 hours.
The best viewing is along Pier 39, the parking lot east of St. Francis Yacht Club, the Marina Green, Crissy Field, and Aquatic Park. If you have a boat, then be sure to grab a front-row seat right on the water. The St. Francis Yacht Club itself is members-only, so there are no viewing opportunities for the public inside the yacht house.
If you miss the procession on the SF Bay, consider catching the San Mateo Holiday Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, December 17 at 6pm. Best viewing is along the berm in front of the Coyote Point Yacht Club.
About the St. Francis Yacht Club
The St. Francis Yacht Club began in 1927 as an offshoot of the San Francisco Yacht Club, which dates back to 1869. After a fire burned the original San Francisco Yacht Club to the ground in the 1920s, a debate emerged between its members about relocating the club to San Francisco from its original location in Sausalito. This was pre-Golden Gate Bridge, after all, and it was a long commute across the Bay.
The Marin County club members resisted the move, and the club eventually split into two groups: The San Francisco members started the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, and the Marin County members relocated the San Francisco Yacht Club to Belvedere. These days, the two clubs have a great relationship and many members belong to both.