“Coast Guard to host groundbreaking ceremony at Base Boston for Fast Response Cutter pier construction” –News Release

Below is a First District news release. This is good news for those hoping to see some new cutters in New England. We have known for a while that Webber class FRCs were going to Boston, but the surprise I see here is, “…$35 million recapitalization of current Coast Guard facilities at Base Boston and acquisition of six new Fast Response Cutters (emphasis applied–Chuck) at a cost of $380 million.”

This follows the pattern we have seen lately of these vessels being clustered, rather than being widely distributed in ones and two.

Base Boston (photo above) must certainly have much to recommend it, but as a high-cost area, it seems likely it will host no large patrol cutters in the future. It was once homeport to several High Endurance Cutters. Until recently, it hosted three WMEC270s, Escanaba, Seneca, and Spencer. All three have since moved to Portsmouth, VA. We already know the Coast Guard plans to base OPCs #5 and #6 in nearby Newport R.I. at the former US Navy base, where there had been no large cutters.

Wikipedia has a good list of Webber class WPCs and their homeports. It does not reflect the addition of two more ship to the program of record, FRCs #65 and #66, in the FY2022 budget, but it does list 64 named vessels and homeports for 50 cutters including two expected to be homeported in Boston, USCGC William Chadwick (WPC-1150) and USCGC Warren Deyampert (WPC-1151), expected to arrive in the second half of 2022. Homeports are not yet identified for 16 ships. Four of those are presumably going to Boston so where are the remaining 12 going? One is each is expected to go to Seward and Sitka. Two will go to Kodiak. That leaves eight. Some may be added to already identified homeports. One of the 50 identified includes the first ship going to St. Petersburg, FL. St. Pete will likely get at least two more. Assuming that is the case that leaves six. We also know that two will go to Astoria, Oregon. That leaves four. The recent addition of two was probably with the intention of stationing them in America Samoa. Two there would only leave two which might go to previously identified homeports, so we may not see any additional homeports added.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast

Media Advisory: Coast Guard to host groundbreaking ceremony at Base Boston for Fast Response Cutter pier construction

Editors’ Note: Media interested in attending are requested to RSVP at 617-717-9609 by 4 p.m., April 13, and should arrive no later than 9:45 a.m., Thursday.

FRC

BOSTON —The Coast Guard is scheduled to hold a media event for the Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter Homeport Groundbreaking Ceremony at Base Boston, Thursday.

WHO: Rear Adm. Thomas Allan, commander, Coast Guard First District, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Congressman Stephen Lynch, and Mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu.

WHAT: Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter Homeport Groundbreaking Ceremony

WHEN: Thursday, April 14, 2022, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Coast Guard Base Boston, 427 Commercial Street, Boston, MA 02109

This ceremony marks the starts of a large Coast Guard investment in the Northeast with a $35 million recapitalization of current Coast Guard facilities at Base Boston and acquisition of six new Fast Response Cutters at a cost of $380 million. The FRCs are the Coast Guard’s newest cutter class replacing the Legacy Island Class Patrol Boats and will operate throughout the Coast Guard’s First District from New York, to the Canadian border. 

These cutters are designed for missions including:

  • search and rescue
  • fisheries law enforcement
  • drug and migrant interdiction
  • port, waterways, and coastal security
  • national defense

In addition, the Coast Guard will increase personnel presence in the area with 222 new Coast Guard members to crew and maintain the cutters. These new crews are expected to have an annual economic impact of $45 million on the local economy. 

14 thoughts on ““Coast Guard to host groundbreaking ceremony at Base Boston for Fast Response Cutter pier construction” –News Release

  1. I would be curious to know how these FRCs handle big seas. Being homeported in Alaska, Astoria and the New England area, will those boats be stuck to the pier during the winter?

    I cannot imagine a FRC in 50 foot seas in the Gulf of Alaska but maybe I’m biased towards bigger ships in these regions.

    • The FRCs are replacing 110s, so they will be an improvement. I was in PACAREA when the 110s first arrived in Alaska and they really were not built for it. Note, none of the FRCs will be homeported West of Kodiak. Mostly they will be dealing with fishing vessels, and they are at least as seaworthy as most of the fishing vessels. Plus, there is lots of water in SE Alaska protected by offshore islands.

      • I would imagine the FRCs are a improvement over the 110’s. Those still had a relatively tall superstructure to draft which the Coast Guard seemed to hang their hat on back then. The crews would suffer in big seas.

        I was on the Confidence when she was out of Kodiak. A few misadventures finally convinced the brass that she was not suited for the Gulf or the Bering Sea.

    • never mind an 82 in gulf of maine, fun times. we weren’t stuck to the pier. fishermen always seemed to need help when seas were shit. do frcs do b-status? b-0, b-2, etc?

      • I have wondered about Bravo status for the Webber class. I would think they will do more standby and less patrolling in Alaska because they will be based in ones and twos. There they probably will be “response” cutters. In locations where they have so many in a base that one is always underway, there is probably little need for short term, B-0 or B-2, though they might be B-6 or B-12, to fill in if the underway vessel becomes occupied.

        This goes to the rationale for having three in a port. That provides the possibility of one underway, one in deep standdown for maintenance, and the third in workup/on-call if the underway vessel is unable to handle it.

  2. So what Island-class patrol boats are still in service at this point, and how long before the class is completely out of service?

    • Originally there were 49 of the WPB110s. Eight of them were lost in the attempt to extend them and add a boat launch stern ramp. So, we had 41 when the Webber class program began. The 47th is to be commissioned next week and the 48th has been delivered. Bollinger typically delivers five a year. There are still a few 110s out there, but not many. Three are apparently still in commission in Bahrain, but they will soon be decommissioned. The Coast Guard publicizes commissionings, but decommissionings not so much, so I don’t have a count.

  3. It seems like the 13th District could use a couple or more FRCs. Having a couple based in Astoria is a start but with the recent retirement of the 52 foot MLBs a larger boat will be needed for SAR cases involving larger fishing boats and such. Maybe one or two in Coos Bay or Newport and one or two in Port Angeles?

    • It is certainly possible D13 will get more Webber class. There are quite a few that still do not have identified home ports, but if they do, they will probably go to Astoria as well. Three or four at Astoria would allow them to keep one underway all the time, keep another on some kind of standby most or all of the time as well. I do believe that with only two FRCs identified as going to the 13th District they are, aside from the 9th, the district with fewest FRCs currently identified.

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