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CGC KUKUI's History

CGC Kukui (WAK-186)

Named after the state tree of Hawaii, the Coast Guard Cutter KUKUI is the third ship of the Juniper class of seagoing buoy tenders, and the third cutter to bear the name KUKUI.  The first KUKUI was a 190 foot tender built by the New York Ship Building Company.  Delivered prior to the completion of the Panama Canal, KUKUI sailed around Cape Horn enroute to its new home in Honolulu, Hawaii.  KUKUI's top speed was 13.5 knots.  From 1908 until 1946, KUKUI performed aids to navigation duties, such as the servicing of buoys and lighthouses in the Hawaiian and Pacific waters.  The Second KUKUI (shown above) was a 339 foot cargo ship homeported in Honolulu from 1946 to 1972.  The ship constructed long range navigation (LORAN) stations and provided many of the isolated Pacific Islands with food, medical support and building supplies.

Today's KUKUI is one of the world's most capable buoy tenders.  Built in Marinette, Wisconsin, by the Marinette Marine Corporation, KUKUI was launched on May 3, 1997.  Like its two predecessors, the latest KUKUI is homeported on Sand Island in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Although primarily tasked with aids to navigation work, by incorporating state-of-the-art technology and an onboard spilled oil recovery system, KUKUI can excel in a wide variety of missions.

This page is dedicated to the shipmates, past and present, that have sailed on any of the Coast Guard Cutters that have shared our ship's namesake.  This page will be comprised of the stories submitted by KUKUI sailors:  memorable port calls, challenging missions, and of course sea stories that have all helped to establish KUKUI as the "workhorse of the Pacific."

Former Commanding Officers

Dates of Command
Current Status
Michael C. Cosenza January 9, 1998 - July 27, 2000 Captain, USCG (Ret.)
Marc D. Stegman July 27, 2000 - July 10, 2003 Captain, USCG
Ty W. Rinoski July 10, 2003 - June 16, 2006 Captain, USCG
Stephen Matadobra June 16, 2006 - April 10, 2009 Commander, USCG
Ralph R. Little April 10, 2009 - May 4, 2012 Commander, USCG
Steven E. Ramassini May 4, 2012 - Current Commander, USCG

Please send your stories to the Webmaster and I will ensure that they are posted promptly to this page.  Thank you.


Last Modified 1/12/2016