USS Sunbeam III (SP-251)

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USS Sunbeam III (SP-251).jpg
USS Sunbeam III during World War I. Her 1-pounder gun is visible on her foredeck.
United States
Name: USS Sunbeam III
Namesake: Previous name retained
Builder: Charles L. Seabury Company and Gas Engine and Power Company, Morris Heights, the Bronx, New York
Completed: 1917
Acquired: 16 June 1917
Commissioned: 18 July 1917
Struck: 21 January 1919
Fate: Returned to owner
Notes: Operated as civilian motorboat Sunbeam III 1917 and from 1919
General characteristics
Type: Patrol vessel
Length: 52 ft (16 m)
Beam: 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
Draft: 3 ft (0.91 m) mean
Speed: 14 miles per hour[1]
Complement: 8

USS Sunbeam III (SP-251) was a United States Navy patrol vessel in commission from 1917 to 1919. The prefix designator means Section Patrol Craft.[2]

Sunbeam III was built as a civilian motorboat of the same name in 1917 by the Charles L. Seabury Company and the Gas Engine and Power Company at Morris Heights in the Bronx, New York. Her owner, Mr. R. B. Roosevelt of New York City, loaned her to the U.S. Navy under a free lease agreement for World War I service as a patrol vessel. She was delivered to the Navy on 16 June 1917 and commissioned as USS Sunbeam III (SP-251) on 18 July 1917.

Sunbeam III was assigned to section patrol duty to protect antisubmarine nets in the New York Harbor area for the remainder of World War I.

Sunbeam III was stricken from the Navy List on 21 January 1919 and returned to Roosevelt.

This craft appears to be the same Sunbeam which was sold to a new owner in 1923, and through navigation error, found itself stranded in the Niagara River.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Both the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (at and NavSource Online (at give Sunbeam III's speed in "miles per hour", implying statute miles per hour, which is very unusual for a watercraft. It may be that both sources mean her speed was 14 knots; if they really do mean that her speed was 14 statute miles per hour, the equivalent in knots would be 12.2.
  2. ^ "Sunbeam III (SP 251)". Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Niagara Falls - The Scow and the Subchaser: a History". Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  4. ^ "USS Sunbeam III". Retrieved 18 March 2019.