USCGC Acacia (WLB-406)

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Coordinates: 41°37′55″N 87°09′42″W / 41.63206°N 87.161633°W / 41.63206; -87.161633

USCGC Acacia

USCGC Acacia.
Career (United States)
Builder: Zenith Dredge, Duluth, Minnesota
Cost: $927,156
Laid down: 16 January 1944
Launched: 7 April 1944
Commissioned: 1 September 1944
Decommissioned: 7 June 2006
Motto: Ace Of The Lakes
Status: Museum ship
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,025 long tons (1,041 t)
Length: 180 ft (55 m)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Propulsion: 2 × GE 645E diesel electric engines
Speed: 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph) maximum
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 52 crewmen
Armament: Wartime: 20 mm guns, a 3 inch cannon and depth charges.
Peacetime: None.

The USCGC Acacia (WLB 406) was second to the last of a fleet of 39 similar 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders completed during World War II. The Acacia was named after the United States Lighthouse Service ship Acacia, the only Lighthouse Service vessel sunk during World War II. The Acacia is a multi-purpose vessel, nominally a buoy tender, but with equipment and capabilities for ice breaking, search and rescue, fire fighting, logistics, and other tasks as well.

The Acacia was homeported in Port Huron, Michigan, Sturgeon Bay, WI, Grand Haven, MI and Charlevoix, MI. The ship's primary duty was maintaining more than 210 buoys, lighthouses, and other navigational aids. Its area of operation ranged from as far south as Calumet Harbor, south Chicago, to as far north as Little Bay de Noc, including Green Bay, Wisconsin; Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; and Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula.

Among its various other duties were search and rescue of lost or disabled vessels and icebreaking assistance during the cold winter months. During the ice season, Acacia was one of several Coast Guard ice breakers engaged in Operation Coal Shovel, which keeps the channels between Toledo, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan open for the coal ships supplying power plants and industries in Detroit.

The ship also worked with NOAA in their efforts to acquire accurate weather information and with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as they stock Lake Michigan with hundred of thousands of yearling trout.

The Acacia was decommissioned June 7, 2006 after 62 years of service. Acacia was the second to last of the 180-foot (55 m) vessels to serve. Although another ship will not be assigned to Acacia's current home port, its duties has been picked up then newly commissioned USCGC Mackinaw which is equipped to handle buoy tending as well as ice breaking.[1]

Maritime museum[edit]

In 2006, the American Academy of Industry, an Illinois nonprofit group will acquire the ship and turn it into a maritime museum in Chicago. Locations considered include Navy Pier, but also moorings along the Chicago River. The vessel, which was delivered in full working order with only its machine guns removed, is temporarily moored at Burns Harbor in Indiana. The Coast Guard had considered a sale to an unnamed African country, but when that fell through, found the Chicago group's request filed away. The donation was arranged through a transfer to the State of Illinois, which holds title.[2]Home of the American Academy of Industry & USCGC Acacia (WLB-406)

Acacia's relocation to Chicago[edit]

On November 10, 2007, the Acacia sailed from Burns Harbor, Indiana to her new home in Chicago in the North Slip of US Steel Southworks, located at the foot of South East 86th Avenue and Lake Michigan.[3]

Acacia's relocation to Manistee[edit]

In late October 2009, the "Acacia" steamed under her own power after more than three years of not running the main engines to Manistee, Michigan where she has teamed up with the SS City of Milwaukee in an effort to give the general population the experience of being and working on board a Great Lakes buoy tender as well as a 1930s car ferry.

References[edit]