USCGC Balsam (WLB-62)

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USCGC Balsam (WLB-62)
USCGC Balsam (WLB-62) off Honolulu in 1956
Balsam off Honolulu in 1956
United States
Builder: Zenith Dredge, Duluth, Minnesota
  • $916,109
  • ($13,721,111 in modern dollars)
Laid down: 25 October 1941
Launched: 15 April 1942
Commissioned: 14 October 1942
Decommissioned: 6 March 1975
Nickname(s): Snatcher Blossom[1]
Status: Active as a crab fishing vessel.
General characteristics
Class and type: Cactus
Displacement: 1,025 long tons (1,041 t)
Length: 180 ft (55 m)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Propulsion: 2 × General Motors EMD 645 V8 diesel engines
Speed: 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 48
  • Wartime: 20 mm guns, a 3 inch cannon, and depth charges.
  • Peacetime: None

USCGC Balsam (WLB-62) is a 180-foot (55 m) seagoing buoy tender (WLB). A Cactus-class vessel, she was built by Zenith Dredge Company in Duluth, Minnesota. Balsam's preliminary design was completed by the United States Lighthouse Service and the final design was produced by Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth. On 25 October 1941 the keel was laid, she was launched on 15 April 1942, and commissioned on 13 October 1942. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $916,109.

Balsam is one of 39 original 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders built between 1942 and 1944. All but one of the original tenders, USCGC Ironwood (WLB-307), were built in Duluth.

Her initial service was in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, she returned to the west coast of the United States where she served in Astoria, Oregon and Eureka, California. She also was home ported in Honolulu, Hawaii before being transferred to Alaska to serve her remaining years in the Coast Guard fleet.

Balsam was decommissioned in 1975 and sold to a private company for $53,687. She was subsequently sold again and then converted into an Alaskan crab fishing boat named Baranof.[2]

Known Missions[edit]

On July 10, 1944 a U.S. Navy Martin PBM-3-D Mariner flying boat (BuNo 48199), piloted by William Hines, experienced an engine fire and made a forced landing in the ocean offshore of Howland Island. Hines beached the aircraft and although it burned, the crew escaped unharmed and was rescued by USCGC Balsam.[3]


  1. ^ "U.S. Coast Guard Cutter History". U.S. Coast Guard. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-12.[dead link]
  2. ^ "BARANOF". ShipSpotting. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  3. ^ "VP-16 Mishap". Retrieved 7 April 2015.

External links[edit]