USS California (SP-249)

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For other ships with the same name, see USS California.
USS Hauoli (SP-249) In port, circa 1918-1919. This patrol vessel served as USS California (SP-249) from December 1917 until February 1918, when she was renamed Hauoli
USS Hauoli (SP-249) In port, circa 1918-1919. This patrol vessel served as USS California (SP-249) from December 1917 until February 1918, when she was renamed Hauoli
Union Navy Jack United States
Name: USS California
Namesake: California, which was admitted to the Union 8 September 1850 as the 31st State; Hauoli is a Hawaiian word meaning "delight."
Owner: Clara B. Stocker, of New York City
Builder: Robins Drydock Company, Brooklyn, New York
Laid down: date unknown
Christened: as the yacht Hauoli and later as the yacht California
Completed: 1903 at Brooklyn, New York
Acquired: 18 August 1917
Commissioned: 24 December 1917 as USS California (SP-249)
Decommissioned: 8 October 1919
Renamed: USS Hauoli (SP-249) on 18 February 1918
Struck: 16 September 1919
Fate: sold on 7 September 1920; fate unknown
General characteristics
Type: Yacht
Displacement: 299 tons
Length: 211'
Beam: 22'
Draft: 8'
Propulsion: Steam engine
Speed: 19 knots
Complement: not known
Armament: One 6-pounder

USS California (SP-249) -- later known as USS Hauoli (SP-249) – was a yacht acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War I. It was outfitted as an armed patrol craft and, during the first part of its Navy career, patrolled and protected New York waterways. Later, it was assigned to Thomas A. Edison so that he could conduct underwater listening experiments related to antisubmarine warfare. Post-war the yacht was sold to a buyer in Tampa, Florida.

Purchased in New York[edit]

Hauoli, a steam yacht, was built in 1903 by Robins Drydock Company, Brooklyn, New York, for mining magnate Frank "Borax" Smith.[1] It was purchased by the Navy as California in August 1917 from her then-owner, Clara Baldwin Stocker, of New York City. After fitting out, it commissioned at New York Navy Yard 24 December 1917, Lt. (j.g.) W. Applebye-Robinson, USNRF, commanding. Its name was changed back to the original Hauoli 18 February 1918.

World War I service[edit]

Hauoli spent the first year of its service as a patrol vessel in New York harbor. It patrolled outside the harbor also, and occasionally carried passengers to and from convoys.

Assigned to Thomas A. Edison[edit]

The yacht was transferred to special duty 28 January 1919, and assigned to the experimental use of Thomas A. Edison for ASW (antisubmarine warfare) studies. Edison installed listening devices in Hauoli and carried out tests in and around New York harbor.

Post-war decommissioning[edit]

Before demobilization cut short the experiments with Hauoli, it was withdrawn from that service and decommissioned 8 October 1919, and later sold to Denton Shore Lumber Co., Tampa, Florida, 7 September 1920.

Hauoli (U.S. Steam Yacht, 1903) engraving, probably depicting it as originally built. Later named California, it was acquired by the U.S. Navy and commissioned as USS California (SP-249).