Historic Cutters and Patrol Craft

Many cutters have served the US Coast Guard with honor since it's formation in 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service. This page is dedicated to those cutters.


23 June 2003


 The 198 foot cutter Bear was built in 1874 and served with the US Revenue Cutter Service until the USRCS became was is today the US Coast Guard. Built of wood and powered by a single steam powered screw, she also carried a full set of sails on her three masts. The Bear saw service in the Gulf of Alaska region and was involved early on with fisheries patrols. Dispite her age, the Bear underwent a refit and served as a patrol vessel during WWII. She was retired in 1944. The Bear sank off of the coast of Maine in 1963 while under tow.


 USCGC Cuyahoga (WIX-157)

The 125 foot patrl boat Cuyahoga was built in 1927 and served during the "Rum Wars" of Prohibition. During the 1960's and 70's, the Cuyahoga served as a trainning cutter for Officer Candidate School cadets and was stationed at Yorktown, VA. While conducting training exercises in the Chesapeake Bay in October 1978, she was involved in a collision with another ship and sank. Eleven cadets and crewmembers died in the incident. She was later salvaged and resunk off of Cape Charles, VA as part of a fishing reef.


USCGC Aurora (WMEC 103)


The 165 foot patrol boat Aurora was built in 1931 as a followup to the 125 footers to assist with enforcement of Prohibition. The Aurora served as a patrol escort during World War II and was decommissioned in 1968.


 USCGC Taney (WHEC 37)

The 327 foot cutter Taney was built in 1936. The Taney served in both the Pacific and the Atlantic areas and was retired in 1986 to become a floating museum in Baltimore Harbor. She is the last surviving vessel that was on duty in Pearl Harbor, HI during the air attack on December 7, 1941. Over the fifty plus years that the Taney served, she went through several modifications. She is seen here as she would have appeared after World War II.


 USCGC Campbell (WHEC 32)

 The 327 foot cutter Campbell was commissioned in 1936. The Campbell has seen service in both the Atlantic and pacific areas of operation and is seen here as she might have appeared in the 1970's. She was decommissioned in 1982 and was sunk as a target on 29 November, 1984.

 USCGC Ponchartrain (WHEC 70)

 The 255 foot Pontchartrain was one of several "Lake" or "Owasco" class cutters built during World War II to replace an older "Lake" class group of cutters sold to Great Britian during the War. She was commissioned in 1945, decommissioned in 1973 and sold.

 USCGC Tampa (WPG 48)

 The 240 foot Tampa was an early crusing cutter. Built in 1921, she was originally stationed in Mobile, Ala. on the Gulf of Mexico.The Tampa was similar to the "Lake" class built in the late 1920's. The Tampa served in the North Atlantic during the World War II. The Tampa was decommissioned and sold in 1947.


 USCGC McDougal (CG-6)

 The USCGC McDougal (CG-6) was built and commissioned in 1914 in Bath, Maine for the US Navy. She was a pre-World War I design of 1025 tons and was rated at 29.5 knots when built. Following World War I she was decommissioned and laid up in storage. During Prohibition the Coast Guard needed high speed ocean going vessels that could shadow rum-running mother ships which would operate outside of the US 12 mile limit. The McDougal was one of 33 destroyers that the US Navy lent to the Coast Guard for this purpose. The McDougal was commissioned into the US Coast Guard on 13 May, 1925 and was stationed at New York City until the end of Prohibition. After Prohitibion was repealed she was decommissioned on 26 May, 1933 and returned to the Navy.

 30 Foot Utility Boat

 The untiring 30 foot utility boat was produced is several versions and served the US Coast Guard until it was replaced by newer 32 and 41 foot boats. The 30 footer could be seen serving from nearly every Coast Guard Station in the US and was used for all duties including law enforcement and SAR. The 30 footers were built of Fiberglass in 1962 to replace older steel 30 footers that were built in the 1950's.

 USCGC 83503

 The 83 foot patrol boat was produced from 1940 until 1944. These craft were made of wood and 95 were produced. During World War II, these craft often served as rescue craft for downed pilots and sixty of them were employed during the invasion of Normandy in 1944.These sturdy little platforms made over 1400 rescues during the D-Day landings. After the war, they were gradually replaced by 95 Ft and 82 Ft patrol boats.


USCGC Cherokee (WMEC 165)

 The 205 foot Cherokee was designed and built as a pre-World War II ocean going tug in 1939. Following the war, she was turned over to the Coast Guard and operated as a medium endurance cutter. The Cherokee served with honor with the Fifth Coast Guard District. She ended her career in 1991 and was sunk off of Puerto Rico as a naval target.


USCGC Absecon (WHEC 374)

 The USCGC Absecon was built in 1941 and served as a US Navy Seaplane tender during World War II. Following the war, the 311 ft. cutter was turned over to the Coast Guard and she became a high endurance cutter. She served proudly until the end of the Viet Nam War and was decommissioned and transfered to South Vietnam in 1972.


 36 Foot Self-righting Motor Lifeboat

 The 36 Foot self-righting motor lifeboat came into use during the 1930's and was generally had a three man crew. These craft saw service at lifesaving stations. They were phased out and replaced by the larger 44 Foot motor lifeboat. The last of these uints was retired in 1987. An example of htis class, the 36535 may be seen on display at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA.


 52 Foot Motor Lifeboat

(Wooden Hulled)


 The wooden hulled 52 Foot Motor Lifeboat was one of several rescue craft of its size developed between the 1930's and 50's. This model was neighter self righting nor self bailing and only two of this design were built in 1935. 52300 served in the Point Adams, OR area until decommissioned in 1967. The 52301 served on both coasts of the US until it was lost in OR in 1961.

 40 Foot Utility Boat

 The 40 Foot utility boat served much the same purpose as the 30 foot model. Used extensively for harbor patrol, SAR and law enforcement, the 40 footer saw service from the 1950's until it was replaced by 30,32 and 41 foot boats in the 1970's.

 USCGC Mohican (WYTM 73)

 The Mohican was one of the 110 foot class of harbor tug used for a variety of chores including towing, boarding, light icebreaking, firefighting and SAR. This class was introduced in the 1940's and was phased out in the 1980's.

  USCGC Northland (WPG-49)

 The cutter Northland was built in 1927 for use in the Bearing Sea area. Her original configuration called for twin masts with full sail rigging. Her 216 foot hull was reinforced for sailing in the ice fields of the far north but she also saw duty as a training vessel. By the time of the Second World War, her masts and sails had been removed and a float plane and crane had been added. A new paint sceme added to the wartime changes. The Northland made the first naval capture of World War II when crewmembers captured a German whaler and a radio station that had been setup on Greenland. The Northland was sold in 1946.

USCGC Cape Hatteras

WPB 95305


 The 95 foot Cape Hatteras is an example of the patrol class that dates back to the 1950's. It was designed for SAR and law enforcement. She was built in 1953 and was the last of the 95's to be decommissioned. The role of the 95's has been taken over by the 82 foot "Point" Class and the newer 110' "Island" Class.


 During World War II many ships that would normally be manned by US Navy crews were manned instead by Coast Guard crews. The LST 21 or Landing Ship Tank was just one of the 76 so crewed during the war. Designed much like a large barge, the LST had large bow doors that would open to allow on and off loading of equpment when the vessel was beached.


 USCGC Big Horn

 The cutter Big Horn was a 425 foot, 10,000 ton fleet oiler which was assigned a new role as weather ship. The Big Horn assumed her duties in the North Atlantic providing valiable weather information for the Allies during World War II.


Landing Craft Infantry (LCI)

 During World War II the Coast Guard manned many types of landing craft. The LCI or Landing Craft ,Infantry was designed to land up to 200 troops on the beach via ramps that led from the main deck down each side of the bow. The LCI (L) was larger than the standard LCI and was 158 feet long. 28 of these LCI (L) were Coast Guard manned during the war.


USCGC Point Highland WPB 82333
 The 82 foot Point Highland is designed for offshore SAR and law enforcement. She was decommissioned and sold.

 38 Foot Picketboat


The 38 Foot picketboat was used extensively for harbor patrol, SAR and law enforcement, the 38 footer saw service from the 1930's until it was replaced by the 40 foot UTB after World War II. A total of 538 were built. Powered by a single 6 cyl. gas engine, they were rated for 25 knots but generally could only make good 18. The 38 footer carried a crew of 3 and were equiped with a fire pump and small arms.

USCGC Red Cedar WLM 688

The Red Cedar was a 157 foot buoy tender that operated from Coast Guard Support Center, Portsmouth, VA. It services buoys in the coastal waters of the Fifth Coast Guard District. The Red Cedar was built in 1970 .The Red Cedar is now retired.

USCGC  Northwind WAGB 282
The Ice Breaker Northwind was built in 1945 and has since gone through several refits. The originial 5" - .38 cal. guns were removed and she was painted red to provide contrast when operating in ice conditions. She has been retired.