September 22, 2018

Coast Guard Boats – An Overview of the Boats & Cutters That the US Coast Guard Uses

Of all the equipment used to safeguard the nation’s shores and inland waterways, Coast Guard boats are probably the most recognizable. These vessels are categorized into two basic classes that that define them as either boats or cutters.

Us Coast Guard Boats

All vessels that are less than sixty five feet in overall length are classified by the Guard as boats and they are usually found operating on or near waterways. These kinds of craft will include various rigid and inflatable lifeboats, surf boats and utility boats. These are used for a wide variety of duties ranging from rescue to security to navigational services.

One of the most common in this class would be the forty five foot long medium response boat, also known as the RB-M. This is a newer addition to the fleet that serves many functions in the areas of search, rescue and law enforcement. This is a versatile vessel that has numerous specialized capabilities for aiding the Coast Guard in executing vital safety and security missions.

Another important boat is the long range interceptor type. Referred to as the LRI, they will normally be equipped with radar, over the horizon navigation, armament and advanced communication equipment. They mainly are used as transportation for mission activity support in conjunction with rescue assistance and law enforcement boarding teams.

Among the most common of all are the twenty five foot, high speed Defender Class water craft. These were developed in response to the need for additional Homeland Security provisions. Used by maritime safety and security teams, they would be considered to be the ultimate armed waterborne security package.

A Cutter class vessel is basically any with an overall length of sixty five feet or greater. These generally will have sufficient accommodations for a crew to live right on board. Cutters will usually have smaller motor boats and inflatable boats on board that can be launched independently from the larger craft. Polar icebreakers would be an example of this type.

The National Security Cutter, or NSC, is the flagship of the Guard’s fleet. This is a massive four hundred and eighteen foot long vessel with capabilities to meet any maritime security mission duties. It is the largest and the most technically advanced cutter in the Coast Guard, used for law enforcement, security and national defense missions.

The one hundred and ten foot WPB patrol boat is actually in the cutter class because of its size. The American version is an adaptation of a vastly successful British designed patrol rig. It boasts an exceptional range and has outstanding maneuverability capabilities. They are known as the Island Class, and are all named after U. S. Islands, such as the Staten Island and the Key Biscayne.

An eighty seven foot ship that is frequently seen patrolling the coasts is known as the Marine Protector. It has a full compliment of computer enhanced radar and charting systems. It is distinctive in its ability to handle rough seas and afford highly comfortable living conditions for the crew. It also employs a pioneering stern launch and recovery system for deploying small inboard diesel powered boats.

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