USCGC Mesquite (WLB-305)

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USCGC Mesquite
USCGC Mesquite.
Career (United States)
Builder: Marine Ironworks & Shipbuilding Corporation, Duluth, Minnesota
Cost: $874,798
Laid down: 20 August 1942
Launched: 14 November 1942
Commissioned: 27 August 1943
Decommissioned: January 1990
Fate: ran aground December 4, 1989; scuttled for underwater diving preserve
General characteristics
Class & type: Mesquite (B-Class)
Displacement: 1,025 long tons (1,041 t)
Length: 180 ft (55 m)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Cooper-Bessemer GN8 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)
Complement: 48
Armament: Wartime: 20 mm guns, a 3-inch cannon and depth charges.
Peacetime: None.

The USCGC Mesquite (WLB-305) was a 180-foot seagoing buoy tender (WLB). A Mesquite class vessel, it was built by Marine Ironworks and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth, Minnesota. Mesquite'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 20 August 1942 the keel was laid. It was launched on 14 November 1942 and commissioned on 27 August 1943. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $874,798.

Mesquite is one of 39 original 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders built between 1942 and 1944. All but one of the original tenders, the USCGC Ironwood (WLB-297), were built in Duluth.

Mesquite aground on her final voyage

Mesquite served until December 4, 1989, when it grounded on a reef off of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior after, ironically, replacing the summer navigational buoy that warned of that very reef. After several hours of trying to free the vessel, the crew reluctantly abandoned ship.

The Coast Guard had intended to salvage the ship in the spring, but after several winter storms swept through, further damaging the vessel through crushing ice and hammering waves, it was determined that the damage was too severe. Mesquite was deliberately sunk in 120 feet of water not far from the reef where it was wrecked. It has been adaptively reused as an underwater scuba diving attraction of the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve.

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