The United States Coast Guard cutter JAMES RANKIN is the fifth of the fourteen cutters of the Keeper Class of coastal buoy tenders constructed by Marinette Marine Corporation in Marinette, Wisconsin. Placed in commission on May 1, 1999 in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, JAMES RANKIN and her sister ships form a fleet of technically advanced and highly capable buoy tenders. Z-Drive propulsion with automated engineering controls, coupled with a computer-based navigation system provide Keeper Class cutters with unsurpassed maneuverability, greatly enhancing the cutter's ability to perform their primary mission of servicing aids to navigation.
Home ported at the Coast Guard YARD in Curtis Bay, Baltimore, Maryland, JAMES RANKIN and her crew are responsible for maintenance of over 400 buoys in the Upper Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries including the Potomac River up to our nation's capitol. JAMES RANKIN is also designed and equipped to ably perform other Coast Guard missions including homeland security, search and rescue, marine environmental protection and domestic ice breaking.
JAMES RANKIN's namesake was the keeper of East Brother Light and Fort Point Light, both located in San Francisco Bay. Keeper Rankin was born in Killshee County Ireland in 1844. He joined the Lighthouse Service in 1877 and became one of the most famous Light keepers to serve on the west coast, serving with distinction for 41 years at Fort Point Light. He is credited with saving 18 lives during is service as a Light keeper. James Rankin retired on February 28, 1919 at the age of 78.