Coast Guard Cutter Scioto, 50 years tough
Posted by rtippets, Friday, August 17, 2012
Seemingly unknown to the public, and in some instances to the Coast Guard at large, the River Buoy Tender cutter class is the workhorse of the Coast Guard. River tenders are indispensable in keeping mariners safe and help boost America’s economy by keeping rivers navigable to commercial vessels.
During a 50th anniversary celebration for the Coast Guard Cutter Scioto, the 65-foot river tender participated in a joint change-of-command ceremony with the Coast Guard Cutter Wyaconda, June 29 in Dubuqe, Iowa. The ceremony commemorated the importance, longevity and legacy of river tenders on the Mississippi River.
“The ceremony was a great way to show off the Scioto to industry partners,” said Lt. j. g. Colin Fogarty, public affairs officer, Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River. “We were able to show the public the full spectrum of what river tenders on the Mississippi are able to do.”
Built in 1962, the Keokuk-based Scioto maintains and repairs aids to navigation on the Upper Mississippi River. It is responsible for 322 miles of river, 1,400 buoys and 156 shore beacons.
The Scioto is as important today as it was 50 years ago and has updated its technology to keep up with its rigorous work load.
In June 2011, the Scioto received a major upgrade to her aging systems as part of the Inland River Emergency Subsystem Sustainment project. The Scioto was the last river tender that would receive a service-life extension by renewing specific systems in lieu of replacement.
During drydock for the IRESS, which occurred from June to September 2011, contractors overhauled the propulsion, firefighting and steering systems onboard the Scioto. The cutter also replaced its Caterpillar engines with Isotta Fraschini twin V-12 diesel engines.
Another historic moment in the life of the Scioto came on March 2, 1979. The Scioto sank at the pier while in dry dock. It took crewmembers two and a half weeks using fire hoses and P-300 dewatering pumps under the hull, as well as disassembling the Caterpillar D353 main diesel engines, to refloat the cutter. The cutter did not get underway again until 1981.
Surviving a sinking and a major engineering systems upgrade, as well as maintaining a grueling work schedule of 15-hour days, the Scioto has proven itself to be one of the Coast Guard’s toughest ships. With such toughness, one can only hope to see the Scioto patrolling the Mississippi River for another 50 years.