SAN FRANCISCO - The Navy is in town for Fleet Week and visitors are lining up for tours. Ship tours started on Wednesday and visitors lined up as activity kicked into high gear.
The amphibious warship USS Rushmore anchored off Piers 30/32 as families lined up for tours.
"We are from the East Bay," said Ashley Banks "So, Hayward Dublin area, so we stay at home and we take the kids anywhere and everywhere we can and why miss Fleet Week?"
Visitors say after a year of being cooped up, the return of Fleet Week is a major draw.
"Just kind of explore and see what they have going on up there," said Lakeisha Herron. "The kids are really excited. As you can see our son was like, 'wait for me!'"
On board, visitors can go below decks to check out the warship.
Commander Emily Royse was on hand to greet the visitors. She said the sailors get just as much out of the tours are as the public. "It is a refreshing perspective when you have folks coming on board and they are interested in what our sailors do and our sailors love talking about their jobs, you know. And I encourage as folks see them out and about around town just engage them, and ask them questions," said Commander Royse.
The ship is just one of four in town through Monday, and the ships are unusually one of the major draws of Fleet Week. In years past, Fleet Week has brought as many as a million visitors to San Francisco, a welcome sight for hotels like the Argonaut on Fisherman's Wharf.
This year, instead of international visitors, regional tourism is helping to fill the hotel rooms. "Imagine a circle of about 100-150 miles. A lot of people coming from the Central Valley or just south of us or north of us, and Sacramento," said Stefan Muhle from the Argonaut. "And then, of course, some domestic travel. SFO is seeing a slight increase now."
Muhle says major events like Fleet Week are critical to the city's hospitality industry. And after more than a year turning visitors away Fleet Week and the Giants in the playoffs run, all coming during a three-day weekend, is a welcome sight.
"That's good news, it's good news for all of us. It's good news for hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, retail merchants, you know," said Muhle. "We're all looking forward to it."
KTVU has confirmed that the Blue Angels, the stars of the air show, have landed here in the Bay Area. They will be up and flying for survey flights Thursday, and the air shows will get underway Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
FLEET WEEK SF: https://fleetweeksf.org/