USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB-30)

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USCGC Mackinaw
United States
BuilderMarinette Marine Corporation (MMC)
Laid downFebruary 09, 2004
LaunchedApril 2, 2005
CommissionedJune 10, 2006
HomeportCheboygan, Michigan[1]
General characteristics
Displacement3,500 tons
Length240 ft (73 m)
Beam58.5 ft (17.8 m)
Draft16 ft (4.9 m)
  • Integrated Main Propulsion & Electrical Plant
  • ABB Azipod - Fixed Pitch, 10’ diameter
  • 9,119 shp (6.8 MW)
Speed16 knots (30 km/h)
Complement9 Officers, 46 Enlisted
  • 2 x machine guns[2]
  • Various small arms
  • 130,896 US gal (495 kl) (Diesel fuel)
  •  27,500 US gal (104 kl) (potable water)

USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB-30) is a 240-foot (73 m) multi-purpose vessel with a primary mission as a heavy icebreaker specifically built for operations on the North American Great Lakes for the United States Coast Guard.[3] IMO number: 9271054.

Her larger precursor, the USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83), IMO number 6119534, had a 62-year career on the same waters prior to being decommissioned on June 10, 2006, and turned into a museum ship docked in Mackinaw City, Michigan.

Among the missions the current Mackinaw is capable of and tasked with as needed is buoy tending, law enforcement and interdiction, search and rescue, and environmental remediation response.


Mackinaw was delivered to the Coast Guard on November 18, 2005, and commissioned on June 10, 2006. In addition to her ice-breaking duties, the Mackinaw also serves as an Aids-to-Navigation ship, since she is able to perform the same duties as the Seagoing Buoy Tenders (WLB) of the Coast Guard fleet. Further, she can conduct law enforcement and search-and-rescue missions and can deploy an oil-skimming system to respond to oil-spill situations and environmental response.[3]

Mechanical aspects[edit]

Mackinaw's Main Control Console, which is used to steer the ship instead of a steering wheel.

One of the Mackinaw's unique features in the US Coast Guard fleet is the use of two Azipod units, ABB's brand of electric azimuth thrusters, for her main propulsion. These, coupled with a 550 hp (410 kW) bow thruster, make the ship exceptionally maneuverable. The Azipod units also remove the need for a traditional rudder, as the thrusters can turn 360 degrees around their vertical axis to direct their thrust in any direction. The Mackinaw also lacks a traditional ship's steering wheel. Much of the ship’s technology, including the Azipod thrusters, is from Finnish Maritime Cluster.[3] Additionally, the Mackinaw can continuously proceed through fresh water ice up to 32 inches (81 cm) thick at 3 knots or 14 inches (36 cm) at 10 knots. She can also break smooth, continuous ice up to 42 inches (110 cm) thick by rising on top of it and crushing it with the weight of her bow.


The Mackinaw got off to a rocky start before being commissioned. While en route to her new home port of Cheboygan, Michigan, the Mackinaw struck a seawall in Grand Haven, Michigan on December 12, 2005. The accident caused a 10-foot (3.0 m) dent in her starboard bow. Shortly after, Captain Donald Triner, the commanding officer of the Mackinaw, was temporarily relieved of duty pending an investigation into the event. The accident did not delay the ship, which arrival on schedule on December 17, 2005. Captain Triner was later permanently relieved of duty[4] and replaced by Captain Michael Hudson.

The Mackinaw is stationed at Cheboygan, Michigan.[1] It can be seen and toured at Grand Haven's Coast Guard Festival every summer. The ship was also featured on the television series Modern Marvels.

Captain Hudson was subsequently replaced by Commander John Little in April 2006. CDR Scott J. Smith assumed command in July 2008 and was relieved by CDR Michael J. Davanzo in Aug, 2011. In June 2014, CDR Vasilios Tasikas assumed command. In June 2017, CDR John Stone assumed command. In June 2020, CDR Kristen Serumgard assumed command. In July 2022, CDR Jeannette Greene assumed command.

Katmai Bay, stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan,[5] helps the Mackinaw in ice breaking duties.[6]



  1. ^ a b "USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB-30)". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "USCGC MACKINAW (WLBB-30) Characteristics". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Great Lakes Icebreaking (GLIB) Capability Replacement Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). February 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  4. ^ Quackenbush, Jeff; Michael Hoffman (12 Jan 2006). "Mackinaw Captain Removed From Duty". WZZM. Gannett Broadcasting. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  5. ^ "USCGC Katmmai Bay (WTGB 101)". United States Coast Guard. 26 January 2012.
  6. ^ "U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie". U.S. Coast Guard Sector. Retrieved April 30, 2017.

External links[edit]