Builder: Pusey & Jones, Wilmington, Delaware
Draft: 17' 6"
Displacement: 880 tons
Commissioned: 15 November 1908
Disposition: Sold; sank after "piling up" on Saturna Island in the Gulf of Georgia in 1941 while serving as a towing vessel.
Machinery: Triple-expansion steam engine; 2 boilers, 1,200 IHP
Performance & Endurance:
Max: 12.0 knots
Armament: 1 x 3"/50
No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown
The first cutter named Snohomish was a 152-foot sea-going tug. In 1906 Congress had directed the Revenue Cutter Service to construct a sea-going tug with maximum life-saving and property-saving equipment for service along the North Pacific coast. The Snohomish was equipped with wireless, surfboats, and a steam-towing apparatus. She was built by Pusey & Jones Corporation at Wilmington, Delaware. She was launched on 14 March 1908 and was christened by Miss Vivian Swalwell of Everett, Washington. She was based out of Neah Bay, Washington, after entering service on 15 November 1908 and steaming around Cape Horn to reach her new duty station. On that historic voyage, she made ports-of-call at Pernambuco, Montevideo, Ponta Arenas, Valparaiso, Callao, Acapulco before she reached Puget Sound in March, 1909. She was tied up at the Revenue Cutter Service wharf at Ediz Hook. Here she was assigned to search and rescue, fisheries patrol on the Swiftsure Banks, delivering mail to light ships and distant stations, patrolling regattas, towing disabled vessels, and other duties as required.
On 6 April 1917 she was temporarily transferred to the Navy for service during World War I. She was returned to Treasury Department control on 28 August 1918. She remained in service in the North Pacific area, where she was also involved in the seal patrol in Alaskan waters. Her commanding officer in the early 1920s was then-LT Russell R. Waesche, who became commandant in 1936 and served in that capacity until 1946, guiding the service through World War II. In August, 1922, she aided the coastal liner H. F. Alexander after the liner ran aground on Cake Rock, near the mouth of the Quillayute River. The Snohomish safely took off all of the liner's passengers. In February, 1923, she rescued the crew of the freighter Nika, which burned off Umatilla Lightship. Before she could get the Nika survivors to port, the Snohomish responded to the aid of the British freighter Tuscan Prince, which had grounded on the rocks off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and the steamship Santa Rita, also in peril. After rescuing the crews of both of these ships, she made Port Angeles safely and put ashore the 105 rescued persons, a record number of persons rescued by a Coast Guard cutter to that time. (Click here for more information on these rescues). Her 3-inch gun was installed at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in April of 1923.
The Snohomish was decommissioned in 1934 and was sold. She sank after "piling up" on Saturna Island in the Gulf of Georgia. At the time she was owned by the Island Tug and Barge Company of Victoria, British Columbia.
Cutter History File, Coast Guard Historian's Office.
Donald Canney. U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.
"Former Cutter Sinks." U. S. Coast Guard Magazine 15, No. 2 (Dec, 1941), p. 70.
U.S. Coast Guard. Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).