04/01/2015: This buoy tender has reached its 70 year life of service.
The USCG faces a serious recapitalization challenge, notably illustrated by operating a 70 year old ship.
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Bluebell recounts the cutter’s history as part of its 70th anniversary of service celebration in Portland, Ore., March 30-April 3, 2015.
Bluebell crews responded to the Vanport, Ore., flood in 1948, the Mt. Saint Helen’s eruption in 1980, and the sinking of the Davy Crockett barge in 2011.
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard District 13:3/26/15
The role of buoy tenders is important in the navigation of inland waterways.
As Admiral Lee underscored in an interview we did with him in 2011:
We mark the nation’s waterways much like the highway department marks our highways.
This is what keeps commerce flowing in and out of our major ports.
Without access to the ports, the economic engine of our country would soon come to a grinding halt.
We exist, by and large, on trade and more goods are carried by ship than any other mode of transportation.
We accomplish this mission with an aging fleet of buoy tenders, constructions tenders, and small boats.
It is an un-sexy, under-recognized, and under-promoted mission that we do everyday — day in and day out.
I simply can’t overemphasize the impact that this critical mission has on the nation’s commerce.