Permits & Reservations

Special Use Permits

Thank you for your interest in having your event at San Francisco Maritime NHP.

As a unit of the National Park Service, San Francisco Maritime NHP must balance preserving the resources with allowing for a variety of visitor uses. While several types of activities such as weddings, filming and swim events are allowed in the park, many uses are prohibited.

Application download links:
Application for a Special Use Permit
Application for Special Use Permit for Commmercial Filming/Still Photography .

When your application is under review, the Office of Special Park Uses will look at multiple criteria, including whether or not there is a meaningful association between the park and the event, and how the event contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park.

Please note that 21 business days is the minimum amount of time required for processing most permit applications, and applications for large or complex activities may take longer.

For more information please contact John Earnest at 415-279-3789 or through email at e-mail us.

Reservations for Schools and Educational Groups

Reservations for school and educational groups must be made at least two weeks prior to your visit. Please email e-mail us for inquiries and reservations or visit our Education page here for more information.

  • Submission of an application does not guarantee permit approval.
  • Additional documents may be required for complex events.
  • All advertising, branding, and signs on site must be approved by NPS prior to your event.
  • Signs cannot be more than 30% advertising.
  • Large outdoor events will require at least one Park Ranger present during the event as well as during loading.
  • We only allow 4 large events in Aquatic Park cove each year.
  • A date and location can be held up to one year in advance with an application and application fee.
  • Not all events will be granted exclusive use of an area.
  • Your event and materials must provide Universal Access.
  • Sound cannot exceed 85db.
  • Unmanned aircraft (drones) regardless of whether the operation is for recreational, hobby, business, or commercial purposes, is not allowed, and will not be permitted.
  • Holidays and other event black-out dates exist. Please contact the permit office concerning availability.
  • All large events require a certificate of liability insurance (information below)
  • Athletic events with fewer than 30 people may not require a permit. Please confirm with the permit office.
  • Bocce court rentals usually do not require a permit if the event has fewer than 25 people and no alcohol will be involved. Contact for these events is, for events with more than 25 people or alcohol please download permit application and contact permit office.
  • Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. People may exercise these rights peacefully in national parks, but the National Park Service retains as its highest priority the protection of park visitors and resources. Therefore, the National Park Service requires a permit for most First Amendment activities in order to establish the location, time, number of participants, and other general conditions under which such events may occur. The content of First Amendment activities is not regulated, and the opinions expressed by permittees do not necessarily reflect the vision, mission and/or policy of the National Park Service.
  • Please email us (link) regarding any questions or comments related to First Amendment permits.
  • A permit is required for First Amendment activities that meet any of the following criteria:
    • Groups larger than 25 participants
    • Utilizes significant equipment including generators, platforms, tents, etc.
    • Would like a guarantee of priority use of a specific location
    • Is requesting an area not otherwise open to the public
  • A group of 25 people or less is not required to obtain a First Amendment Permit if they do not meet the criteria above, but they are encouraged to get one as a permit will prevent another group from reserving the area.
  • Examples of First Amendment Activities:
    • Religious services
    • Political speeches
    • Press conferences
    • Voter registration
    • Public demonstration, picketing, assembly or rally expressing opinions and views
  • Type of Activities Not Covered by the First Amendment:
    • Church picnic or social gathering
    • Wedding ceremonies or receptions
    • Political fundraiser or other invitation-only political activity or event
    • Solicitation of donations
    • Community parades, athletics, or sporting events
  • First Amendment permits are issued at no cost to the permittee. Many of the activities not covered by the First Amendment can be accommodated through a Special Use Permit for which cost recovery will be charged.
  • Still photography that involves the use of a model, set, or prop, and/or, requires entry into a closed area require a permit.
  • Individuals taking still photos in public areas without props, sets, or models do not require a permit.
  • Film crews of 5 people or less, with no props, and only a tripod and hand held equipment do not need a permit.
  • Additional documents may be required for complex events if:
    • You are applying to film multiple days
    • Have 50+ cast and crew, will need to build sets, use pyro-technics/special effects, requesting extended closures, etc.
    • All other filming must utilize the “Film and Photography Permit Application” above.
  • All of our facilities that are available for rental are active museums and as such have many restrictions on allowable activities.
  • Please contact the permit office for more specifics details on each facility
  • Maritime Museum
    • Only Blue Room, Veranda, and Lobby are available for rental
  • Eureka
    • Most weeknights from September to June are unavailable due to school overnight programs. Check with the permit office for specific date availability.
  • Balclutha
    • Most weeknights from September to June are unavailable due to school overnight programs. Check with the permit office for specific date availability.
  • All permit applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable permit application fee of $50. This fee is non-refundable even if you application is denied, so please contact the office prior to sending in paperwork. For the smallest permits, the application fee goes towards your permit costs. For larger events, it is an additional charge.
  • Submitting an application with the fee does not guarantee your activity or the date requested will be approved. Applications are accepted up to one year in advance. We will let you know within 5 business days that we have received your application, but approval or denial of your activity can range from days to weeks.
  • The permit office accepts payment by check only. Please contact the permit office before sending in any funds.
  • Permit costs can range from free to over $10,000. While we will be able to give you an estimate of costs over the phone or in email, we cannot tell you the final cost of your activity until after we receive a permit application. We are happy to have a few conversations with you by phone or email, but an application and non-refundable application fee are due prior to the office spending more time than that on your proposal.
  • Some activities are required to go through full environmental or historic compliance review.
  • All large events are required to have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability insurance naming the United States of America as additionally insured. A sample can be found here (link). Please contact permit office for more details if needed.
  • Example of Certificate of Insurance may be viewed here.

Last updated: June 2, 2022

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Mailing Address:

2 Marina Boulevard,
Building E, 2nd Floor

San Francisco , CA 94123


415 561-7000
The public information office is open from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. PST.

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