Joshua Appleby556 1.jpg
USCG coastal buoy tender Joshua Appleby WLM-556
Class overview
Operators United States Coast Guard
In commission1996–present
General characteristics [1]
Displacement840 long tons (850 t)
Length175 ft (53.3 m)
Beam36 ft (11.0 m)
Draft7.9 ft (2.4 m)
Speed12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems
Furuno SPS-50 navigation radar
USCG Coastal Buoy Tender Katherine Walker WLM-552
Some of the controls and displays of the USCG Coastal Buoy Tender Katherine Walker (WLM-552)

The United States Coast Guard commissioned a new Keeper class of coastal buoy tenders in the 1990s that are 175 feet (53 m) in length and named after lighthouse keepers.

Keeper-class cutters serve the Coast Guard in a variety of missions and are tasked with maintaining aids to navigation (ATON), search and rescue (SAR), law enforcement (LE), migrant interdiction, marine safety inspections, environmental protection and natural resources management. Keeper-class cutters are also used for light ice breaking operations.

These vessels are 175' long and replaced the World War II era 180', 157' and 133' tenders. The new class of buoy tender cut crew size from 50, 35 and 26, respectively, to 25, saving the already cash-strapped Coast Guard financial and personnel resources.

Keeper-class cutters were built by Marinette Marine of Marinette, WI.

Keeper-class cutters are equipped with mechanical Z-drive azimuth thruster propulsion units instead of the standard propeller and rudder configuration. These mechanical drives are designed to independently rotate 360 degrees. Combined with a thruster in the bow, they enable Keeper-class tenders to dynamically maneuver in a variety of sea states. This creates an extremely maneuverable platform which, when combined with modern navigation aids such as GPS, DPS, and ECDIS to allow the Cutter to maintain static positions. This allows the cutter to precisely place an aid to navigation (ATON).

Keeper-class boarding teams are armed with modern small arms.


The following 175-foot WLMs in service (as of 2006):

Cutter Homeport Namesake Laid down Launched[1] Completed[1]
USCGC Ida Lewis (WLM-551) Newport, Rhode Island Ida Lewis 23 January 1995[2] 14 October 1995 1 November 1996
USCGC Katherine Walker (WLM-552) Bayonne, New Jersey Katherine Walker 8 April 1996[2] 14 September 1996 27 June 1997
USCGC Abbie Burgess (WLM-553) Rockland, Maine Abbie Burgess 26 September 1996[2] 5 April 1997 19 September 1997
USCGC Marcus Hanna (WLM-554) South Portland, Maine Marcus Hanna 22 August 1996[2] 23 August 1997 26 November 1997
USCGC James Rankin (WLM-555) Baltimore, Maryland James Rankin 21 April 1997[2] 25 April 1998 26 August 1998
USCGC Joshua Appleby (WLM-556) St. Petersburg, Florida Joshua Appleby 8 August 1998 20 November 1998
USCGC Frank Drew (WLM-557) Portsmouth, Virginia Frank Drew 5 December 1998 17 June 1999
USCGC Anthony Petit (WLM-558) Ketchikan, Alaska Anthony Petit 30 January 1999 1 July 1999
USCGC Barbara Mabrity (WLM-559) Mobile, Alabama Barbara Mabrity 27 March 1999 29 July 1999
USCGC William Tate (WLM-560) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania William Tate 8 May 1999 16 September 1999
USCGC Harry Claiborne (WLM-561) Galveston, Texas Harry Claiborne 26 June 1999 28 October 1999
USCGC Maria Bray (WLM-562) Atlantic Beach, Florida Maria Bray 28 August 1999 6 April 2000
USCGC Henry Blake (WLM-563) Everett, Washington Henry Blake 20 November 1999 18 May 2000
USCGC George Cobb (WLM-564) San Pedro, California George Cobb 18 December 1999 22 June 2000

See also[]


  1. ^ a b c Saunders 2002, p. 861.
  2. ^ a b c d e Baker 1998, p. 1121.
References cited
  • Baker, A. D. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998–1999. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press, 1998. ISBN 1-55750-111-4.
  • Saunders, Stephen. Jane's Fighting Ships 2002–2003. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2002. ISBN 0710624328.

Further reading[]

External links[]