SAV­ING THE SEAS

Boating - - MAKING WAVES | NEWS - —Pete McDon­ald

Acush­net, a Coast Guard cut­ter in­volved in one of the most fa­mous res­cues in the his­tory of the ser­vice branch, is be­ing recom­mis­sioned to help save the oceans.

The 213-foot di­ver­class ves­sel ac­tu­ally got its start in World War II as the USS

Shackle, a sal­vage and res­cue ship based out of Pearl Harbor that com­pleted 55 sal­vage and res­cue op­er­a­tions in the Pa­cific The­ater — its crew was dec­o­rated sev­eral times over for its ser­vice.

After World War II, the Coast Guard recom­mis­sioned the ves­sel as Acush­net, be­gin­ning its sec­ond life as a search-an­dres­cue cut­ter, as well as an ice-pa­trol boat mon­i­tor­ing ice­bergs, based out of Port­land, Maine. Acush­net was in­volved in the res­cue of sev­eral crew­men after two tankers split in two dur­ing a bl­iz­zard off the coast of Cape Cod in 1952. The larger story of that res­cue, in­volv­ing lo­cal Coasties in a small boat, be­came the ba­sis of the 2016 movie The Finest Hours. The cut­ter served with dis­tinc­tion un­til the Coast Guard de­com­mis­sioned it in 2011.

Now a non­profit con­ser­va­tion group called Ocean Guardian is re­pur­pos­ing the ven­er­ated cut­ter to help in its mis­sion of clean­ing and pro­tect­ing the ocean and its nat­u­ral re­sources.

With the help of the Na­tional Mar­itime Law En­force­ment Academy and the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Law En­force­ment Academy, Ocean Guardian is re­fit­ting

Acush­net to as­sist in de­ter­ring il­le­gal fish­ing and dump­ing, as well as re­cov­er­ing plas­tics that have been build­ing up in our seas. The old cut­ter will also be used for law en­force­ment train­ing. The ship will be based in Ana­cortes, Wash­ing­ton.

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