You know boating season has arrived when the Blue Angels roar into Annapolis in honor of U.S. Naval Academy Commissioning Week, the one before Memorial Day Weekend. The flight rehearsal takes place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, and the official show unfolds at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22 (for updates, visit the U.S. Naval Academy Commissioning Week schedule). Spectator boats should aim to anchor/raftup by 11 a.m. when the jets arrive and circle.

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The Blue Angels fly in Annapolis May 21 and 22. Photo by Will Keyworth

This year marks the 78th year of the Blue Angels, so named for a well-known and now-defunct nightclub in New York City. Chosen before a New York air show in 1946, the name stuck.  

To become part of this top squadron, an applicant “must be a career-oriented, carrier-qualified, active-duty Navy or Marine Corps pilot.” Applicants visit the squadron at scheduled show sites early in the show season to observe the team firsthand. Finalists are selected mid-season and interviewed at the Blue Angels’ squadron in Pensacola, FL. 

The new demonstration pilots and support officers are selected by unanimous vote. The Chief of Naval Air Training selects the Flight Leader/Commanding Officer. Officers on the team generally serve two to three years, while the enlisted personnel serve three to four years. Each member returns to the fleet after completing a tour with the Blue Angels. 

Of the 158 active-duty sailors and marines serving on the team, 24 are women. 

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The Blue Angels air show over Annapolis is one of the most popular raftup days of the year! Photo by PropTak

According to the official website, the Blue Angels showcase “the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. We are thrilled to perform demonstrations across the country, sharing our Navy and Marine Corps experiences with our fellow Americans, bringing Naval aviation to communities across the country that may not have a large military presence.

“Our goal for 2024 is to continue to inspire young men and women, not just to pursue a career in Naval aviation or the military, but to excel in all areas of their lives… Each performance provides the American public an opportunity to view the incredible capabilities of our service members serving aboard every ship, squadron, and unit in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.”

Learn more at For tips on anchoring safely, click to