USCGC Spar (WLB-206)
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (January 2019)
USCGC Spar (WLB-206)
|Laid down:||15 December 1999|
|Launched:||12 August 2000|
|Commissioned:||3 August 2001|
|Nickname(s):||The Aleutian Keeper|
|Status:||Ship in active service|
|Displacement:||2,000 long tons (2,000 t) (full load)|
|Length:||225 ft (69 m)|
|Beam:||46 ft (14 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft (4.0 m)|
|Range:||6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Armament:||2 x .50 caliber machine guns|
USCGC SPAR (WLB-206) is a United States Coast Guard seagoing buoy tender home-ported in Kodiak, Alaska. The ship maintains aids to navigation in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and has acquired the nickname "Aleutian Keeper". SPAR also performs other missions, such as search & rescue and law enforcement operations, in one of the world’s most challenging marine environments from the Gulf of Alaska to the Arctic ocean.
The cutter is named after the former U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserves, also known as SPARS from the Latin and English translations of the Coast Guard Motto: Semper Paratus; Always Ready!
The keel for SPAR was laid on December 15, 1999 at Marinette Marine Corporation in Wisconsin. SPAR was launched on August 12, 2000. She made the trip from Marinette, Wisconsin to Kodiak from March to June 2001 and was commissioned later that year on August 3. SPAR took Alaskan Aids to Navigation responsibility for the waterways of decommissioned USCGC Ironwood and USCGC Firebush and regularly sees duty throughout the Aleutian Chain, as far west as Adak and the Bering Sea and as far north as the Kuskokwim River.
In 2012, SPAR was adopted as honorary ship of the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak, the only known Cutter to have received such a title. Making an annual “Santa to the Villages” trip to Old Harbor, the ship's crew also offered a career fair and provided marine safety services to the remote community. Village elders later attributed this relationship to trust in the federal government’s response when the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Kulluk ran aground on Tribal land.
In 2013, SPAR’s law enforcement boardings of gold dredge vessels around Nome carried the Coast Guard’s mission in the Arctic to a national audience through the reality television series Bering Sea Gold.
In 2014, a portion of hydrographic data that SPAR collected in areas not surveyed since the late 1800s passed robust scrutiny by the Office of Coast Survey and was accepted for future nautical chart updates, increasing the safe navigation of vessels transiting Arctic waters and collaboratively supporting the nation’s economy and ocean stewardship.