USCGC Cactus (WLB-270)
|Career (United States)|
|Name:||USCGC Cactus (WLB-270)|
|Builder:||Marine Ironworks and Shipbuilding Corporation, Duluth, Minnesota|
|Laid down:||31 March 1941|
|Launched:||25 November 1941|
|Commissioned:||1 September 1942|
|Status:||Converted to barge|
|Class & type:||Cactus (lead ship)|
|Displacement:||1,025 long tons (1,041 t)|
|Length:||180 ft (55 m)|
|Beam:||37 ft (11 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 × General Motors EMD 645 V8 diesel engines|
|Speed:||13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)|
|Range:||8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)|
|Armament:||Wartime: 20mm guns, a 3 inch cannon, and depth charges.
USCGC Cactus (WLB-270) is a 180 feet (55 m) sea going buoy tender (WLB). A Cactus-class vessel, she was built by Marine Ironworks and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth, Minnesota. Cactus's preliminary design was completed by the United States Lighthouse Service and the final design was produced by Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth. On 31 March 1941 the keel was laid, she was launched on 25 November 1941 and commissioned on 1 September 1942. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $782,381.
Cactus is one of 39 original 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders built between 1942-1944. All but one of the original tenders, USCGC Ironwood (WLB-307), were built in Duluth.
Cactus was decommissioned in 1971 after running aground. Ultimately, the Coast Guard sold the damaged vessel and she was converted to a barge for use in the Pacific Northwest. Cactus was moored without permission in Tacoma, Washington for several years and then in King County off Maury Island from 2003 to 2008. King County seized the vessel in 2008 and is (as of 2013) dismantling the vessel as funds allow.
USCGC Cactus was initially assigned to the First Coast Guard District in 1942 and stationed at Boston, MA. On 12 June 1943 the tender collided with MV Manasquan and sustained considerable damage. After World War II Cactus continued to serve the First District from Boston, MA. In addition to tending aids to navigation (ATON), the cutter also performed search and rescue (SAR) and law enforcement (LE) duties. On 2 March 1952 Cactus provided assistance to FV Dorothy and FV Mary 20 miles south of Nantucket, MA. On 16 November 1953 Cactus fought a fire on FV Jane and FV Patricia. On 26 August 1954 Cactus assisted FV Western Pride which had grounded near Provincetown, MA. In 1957 Cactus assisted the grounded MV Franco Lisi near Salem, MA. On 10 February and 27 July 1957 Cactus fought pier fires in Boston, MA and moved a 450-foot Norwegian merchant vessel to safety away from the flames. During the night of 21-22 February 1959 Cactus assisted FV Jo-Ann and on 24 to 25 January 1966 she escorted the disabled merchant vessel, MS South African Victory to Boston. In 1967 Cactus was transferred to Bristol, RI. On 4 February 1969 Cactus towed the disabled FV Chrisway to safety from 140 miles southeast of Cape Henry, VA. Later in 1969 the ship's homeport was again changed. She arrived at her new station at Tongue Point Coast Guard Base in Astoria, OR in 1970 where she served until her decommissioning in 1971. 
- O'Hagan, Maureen (8 September 2012). "Derelict vessels cause boatloads of trouble in state". The Seattle Times (Seattle).
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security. U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard History Program. http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Cactus1941.pdf Retrieved 2013-07-27
- "US Coast Guard 180-Foot Buoy Tenders" (pdf). Historic American Engineering Record. National Park Service. 2003.
- "U.S. Coast Guard Sea-going & Coastal Buoy Tenders, 1939-2000". United States Coast Guard.
- "Derelict Vessel Removal Program". Washington Department of Natural Resources.
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