A State-of-the Art Icebreaker Begins Her Career

April 8, 1978

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) and icebreaking tug Katmai Bay was launched at the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company shipyard in the city of Tacoma on Washington State’s Puget Sound. The featured speaker at the launch was DeWitt J. Griffin, former president of the Navy League of the United States (a non-profit association involved in advocacy for the USCG, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Merchant Marine); his wife Jean Marie Griffin handled the christening duties for the new vessel.

USCGC Katmai Bay, which had been named after a section of saltwater shoreline within Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, was the first cutter in a new class of USCG icebreaking tugs. Katmai Bay embodied efforts to improve the military branch’s multi-faceted icebreaking efforts when it came to everything from scientific expeditions to life-saving missions on frozen waters. The more notable differences between USCGC Katmai Bay and previous vessels likewise built for icebreaking tasks included the new cutter’s increased horsepower; higher level of speed; longer travel range; expanded degree of automation; and enhanced capacity for navigating through icebound waters.

Since being launched, the pioneering Katmai Bay has been awarded two Coast Guard Unit Commendation Medals and four Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Medals for her various icebreaking and rescue achievements. In recent years, the cutter has been stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on the St. Mary’s River and engaged in maritime safety efforts in that region.

For more information on USCGC Katmai Bay, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USCGC_Katmai_Bay_(WTGB-101)

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