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83 Footer Class History

83 Footer Class History
83-footers were wood-hulled craft, the hull form was the round bilged type, single planked. Walter J. McInnis was appointed design agent 6 Dec 40 to develop the plans for the 83-foot class. The design was completed 19 Mar 41 and 40 units were contracted to Wheeler Shipyard, Inc., Brooklyn, NY. War started before the contract was completed and subsequent contracts for 44, 40 and 106 units were awarded.

Early units were fitted with an Everdur bronze wheelhouse. These were prefabricated in Boston. MA. and shipped by railcar to the Wheeler Yard. Later units (83436--83529) had plywood wheelhouses because of a shortage of bronze. Those 83-footers operating above Cape Henry. VA. were ice sheathed. All the craft were capable of 20.6 kts full speed at time of delivery. but their performance was degraded by machinery wear as well as the increased displacement from armaments. radar. and sonar Twelve additional units were built for the USN and transferred to Cuba (4) the Dominican Republic, (3) Haiti (1 ), and Venezuela (4) Nineteen Coast Guard units were also transferred to Latin American navies during the war--the navies of Cuba (8), Colombia (2). Peru (6). and Mexico (3).




Photo permission Jack Parker, 83329

General Service - 1941-45 used for antisubmarine patrol, coastal convoy escort. and search and rescue. srring 44. (,0 units were shipped to Great Britain and became USCG Rescue Flotilla No. l- based at Poole, England. it deployed in Two 30 boat rescue groups for Normandy  landings and rescued 1500: 30 of these 60 units returned to the United States. 24 remained in Europe. 4 were transferred to the Royal Navy. and 2 were lost Jan 45.40 units were ordered to COMSERV7THFLEET  in the PHILSEAFRON as USCG PTC Flotilla Number

One and operated out of Manicani Island. just south of the Island of Samar near Leyte-none of the units had served in Europe and none were returned to) the United States- all were decommissioned in the Philippines and disposed of bv Foreign Liquidation Commission (an organ of the  U.S. State Department): 1945. 24 additional units were transferred to the Pacific to serve in Advanced Base Harbor Defense Force (ABHD) (code named LION) at bases in Okinawa and Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, and Saipan and Guam in the Mariana Islands. 4 of these units had served in Europe: following WWII most 83 footers remaining in the Coast Guard were in a decommissioned status for brief periods - only final decommissioning is cited.

Developments and Problems in Coast Guard Cutter Design These pages are excerpts from a journal with information about the lessons learned from the 83 footers for the design of the 82 footer.
83-Footer Website
Check here for the 83 Footer Sailor Website  by Al Readdy the webmaster.

National Geographic Magazine

National Geographic Magazine - Chuck Fowler found this May, 1943 issue at a used book store that is packed with US Coast Guard history and Life on an 83 Footer. Enjoy reading it here.

83-Footer Photos
83 Footer Photos - The is a great collection of photos provided by West Coast Small Boat Historian, George Schneider. It is a great selection of 83 Footers from around the world.
Final Fates
83 Footer Final Fates  - George Schneider also maintains a list of the small boats and their history. Here is a list of 83 Footers and their best known whereabouts or history. If you know of any changes or additions please send them to CCOA for forwarding to George.
Hull Conversions
Hull Conversions If you have the history records and  original 83 Footer photos, you should have photos of conversions of 83 Footers. Here is a collection of photos from George of such craft.
Auction Brochures

In the collection of historical information received with the 83527 were these auction brochures for various 83 Footers for sale in the early 1960's. They show a lot of hardware and good technical descriptions.

83453 83527 83452 83483


"The Keeper's Son"

The Keeper's Son - by Homer Hickam  A novel of life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina at the start of WWII. How a young captain of an 83 Footer interacts with the people of Killakeet Island and German U-boats that cause havoc in the area.