Return to 1915 to 1940

Small Boats

Surfboats were used for near shore rescues
They were kept at Life Saving Stations along the coasts
They were on trailers and were hand hauled from the boat house to the water
Some stations had horses to draw the trailers
Later, some even had tractors
The original boats were modified whale boats
Each area of the country developed their own design of surfboat
Eventually the Life Saving Service standardized the boats as much as possible
The surfboats were originally powered by manned oars
They were originally not self-bailing or self-righting
These features were gradually introduced, as were gasoline engines
The surfboat was the main rescue device well into the late 1800s

Class Number Year Comments Pictures Model
26′ Beebe-McLellan Type Pulling/Sailing Surfboat Designed by LT McLellan, USRM, and Frederick Beebe
Replaced all previous designs
26′ with 3 or 4 thwarts for 6 or 8 oars, double banked
Clinker built – Sprit sailing rig with jib and sprit sail
Self bailing but not self-righting
27′ Beebe Type Motor Surfboat 27′ Beebe pulling boats converted by adding a 12 hp gasoline engine
Capable of about 8 knots
26′ Beebe-McLellan Type Motor Surfboat One 26′ pulling boat was converted as an experiment
Almost all others were built new with the engine

Lifeboats were the companions to the surfboats
They were self bailable and self rightable and much heavier
They were generally kept in the water so they were faster to launch
But they were not easily used on large sandy beaches where piers could not be built
The original boat was a borrowed British boat
Soon US designs evolved and the LSS quickly standardized them
Lifeboats are still in use today

Class Number Year Comments Pictures Model
36′ McLellan Type E Motor Lifeboat 46 1908 First US lifeboat designed from the beginning to incorporate a motor in the stern
Designed by now-CAPT McLellan, USRM
Capable of about 10 knots
Not capable of being rowed but retained the two sailing masts for emergency use
The boats were named in addition to numbered – the only MLBs so honored
Remained the standard motor lifeboat until replaced by the Type H in 1919
36′ Hunnewell Type H Motor Lifeboat 76 1919 First motor lifeboat designed by the Coast Guard
The Coast Guard centralized all small boat construction at the depot at Arundel Cove
which is now called the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay
Incorporated several improvements to the Type E boats
Engine moved to amidships and rudder moved forward of tiller
Retained the oars and sails
Capable of 9 knots
Remained in service until replaced by the Type T in 1929
36′ Hansen Type T Motor Lifeboat 27 1928 Incorporated improvements to the Type H
Partially enclosed cockpit
Capable of 9 knots and a range of 280 nautical miles
36′ Type TR Motor Lifeboat 72 1931 Modified Type T
TR = Type T, Revised
52′ Wooden Hull Motor Lifeboat 2 1935 Stationed in the Pacific Northwest
Named Invincible and Triumph
Invincible was transferred to the Navy in 1967
Triumph was lost in a rescue attempt in 1961
36′ Type TRS Motor Lifeboat 130 1937 Modified Type TR
TRS = Type T, Revised, Simplified
The last Type TRS was retired in 1987

Utility Boats
The Coast Guard has used a variety of small boats for a variety of missions
Originally called launches, they are now referred to as utility boats
One was an air cushion vehicle that was evaluated but not accepted for service
This is NOT a complete list of every UTB used by the Coast Guard
Considering all of the one-of-a-kind acquisitions, that list would be huge

Class Number Year Comments Pictures Model
36′ Picket Boat 103 1925 Built to enforce Prohibition
Built as either single cabin or double cabin
Out of service after WWII – Replaced by the 40 foot UTB
38′ Picket Boat 500+ 1920 Built to enforce Prohibition
Sturdier than the smaller 36s
Direct forerunner to the 41s

Cutter Boats
The Coast Guard has always carried small boats on cutters for rescues and boardings
Note that there are no “lifeboats” on Coast Guard Cutters
The Monomoy surfboat filled the role until the 60s
The 26′ Motor Surf Boat replaced it and stayed around until 2000

Class Number Year Comments Pictures Model
26′ Monomoy Type Pulling/Sailing Surfboat 26′ Monomoy shore side surfboat built with a carvel hull
and used as the standard cutter boat