Support Boat Information

Thank you for supporting Baykeeper's Bay Parade! Sailboats and motorboats are needed to support solo swimmers and swim teams. Rowboats are needed to escort swimmers along the course. Your participation provides critical support for the fun and safety of this event!

Boats are also needed for specific tasks such as hosting event photographers, timekeepers, and other roles. If you are interested in one of these roles, email events@baykeeper.org for more information.

REGISTRATION: Boat captains must register by July 2 to participate as a boat in the Bay Parade. Everyone else on board—including co-pilots, support crew, and/or additional guests—must also register as a boat participant by July 2. There is no registration fee for boat participants, though fundraising is welcomed.

SWIM TEAM ASSIGNMENT: You can register as a swimmer support boat even if you are not yet paired with swimmer(s). Once registered, you will be paired with a solo swimmer or team to support.

Bay Parade Boat Course

COURSE DETAILS:

  1. Support boats pick up their assigned swimmer(s) and deliver them to the swim course start point by 9am. All rowboats should also be at the swim course start point no later than 9am. All swimmers will have one of three fixed, pre-assigned start times. If you are carrying swimmer(s), your swimmer(s) can provide their start time to you, and all boat/swimmer start times will be published the week before the event.
  2. Swimmers may participate solo, on a timed, four-person relay team, or on an open relay team. Swim times will be captured by timekeeping boats positioned at the beginning and end of the course.
  3. Swimmers enter the water near the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge and exit at McCovey Cove, approximately 6.5 miles (5.7 nm). The swim is expected to take between 3 and 4 hours, depending on swimmer speed.
  4. All swimmers must be at the breakwater outside McCovey Cove by 1pm to participate in the Bay Parade finale. Swimmers may be repositioned at the discretion of the Swim Director if it appears that the 1pm deadline will not be met. In this event, boat captains will be responsible for physically repositioning their swimmer(s) as directed by the Swim Director via radio.
  5. The course is the same for all swimmers and support boats.
  6. High tide of 2.7 feet will occur at 11:45 am.
  7. Note that swim organizers may adjust the schedule and timing of the event closer to the swim date as needed, depending on latest conditions in the Bay.

SWIMMER SUPPORT BOAT REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Boat must be in full functioning order and equipped with a motor.
  2. Captain must be experienced and comfortable navigating on the Bay in close proximity to swimmers and other vessels.
  3. Boat must be equipped with a VHF radio tuned to channel 69. VHF radio should be turned on and audible by the captain and/or crew at all times for the duration of the event. Captains shall be in communication via radio with the Swim Director throughout the parade.
    • A second radio (one for swim communication, one for vessel traffic) is highly recommended. The Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club has a limited number of radios available to lend out. To inquire about borrowing a radio, email swim@dolphinclub.org.
  4. Boat must be equipped with an "Oscar" flag to indicate that a swimmer is in the water.
  5. Boat must be equipped with a swim ladder or have low enough sides to allow safe and easy entry/exit by swimmers, and to allow a distressed swimmer to be easily pulled from the water if needed.
  6. Engines must be turned off when swimmers are boarding the boat from the rear or bow. Engines must be in neutral or turned off when swimmers are boarding the boat from the sides. Boat must have an observer on board dedicated to watching propeller if there is no propeller guard installed.
  7. Captains must stay in close proximity to their swimmers at all times. Captains will keep close watch on their swimmer(s) in the water and be ready to communicate swimmer status to the Swim Director via radio. Captains must be ready to respond should any needs or issues arise at any point during the swim. An on-the-water EMT crew will be available should any needs arise requiring medical attention.

FINISH & FINALE:

  1. Once your swimmer(s) pass through the course finish line (marked by two timekeeping boats) and you meet them on the other side, let them re-board your boat and hold there, waiting for instructions by radio on how and when they should proceed into the cove for the finale.
  2. The Bay Parade finale takes place in McCovey Cove; swimmers, kayakers, and stand up paddleboarders are filmed entering the cove by a San Francisco Giants cameraperson standing on the walkway outside AT&T Park. Boats are instructed to stay outside the cove or to the far south side of the cove so they do not block the camera.
  3. Swimmers exit the water at South Beach Yacht Harbor, while boats navigate back to Pier 40 to tie up at the public dock (unless another docking point has been arranged ahead of time). Captains and crew are then invited to join the party at The Yard, walking distance from Pier 40.

ROWBOATS: Rowboats are needed to support the swim to ensure the safety of all participants. Once you register as a rowboat to support the swim course, you will be provided with additional details via email about your role in the parade.

SUPPORT CREW & GUESTS: Everyone planning to be on board a boat must register by July 2. If you plan to be joined on board by a co-pilot, support crew, or additional guests, they also need to register by July 2. There is no registration fee for support boat participants (fundraising is optional and welcomed). Boat captains are responsible for ensuring that all additional crew and guests on board their vessels are registered with Baykeeper by the deadline.

BAY PARADE PARTY: Following the on-the-water portion of the Bay Parade, Anchor Brewing will host the Bay Parade Party from 1:30 to 3:30 pm a short walk away from Pier 40. Each support boat captain receives one free ticket to the party. Co-pilots and supporting boat crew also receive one party ticket each when they register for the parade. Additional party tickets will be available for purchase for $50 each.

GOLDEN RIVET AWARD: The Golden Rivet recognizes the fastest solo swimmer, fastest swim team, and biggest parade fundraiser from each year's Bay Parade. Captains and their guests are eligible to compete for the fundraising category. Winners' names are engraved on the Golden Rivet plaque. There will be other exciting prizes for all fundraising participants who reach certain fundraising targets.

Thank you to our 2017 Bay Parade sponsors:

A Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH event to benefit San Francisco Baykeeper

Photo by Roger Cunningham