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USCGC Elm (WLB-204)
WLB Elm204 2
A 3/4 profile of the CGC Elm, homeported out of Atlantic Beach, NC.
Career Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Builder: Marinette Marine
Commissioned: November 20, 1998
Homeport: Coast Guard Base Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach, NC
Nickname: "Black Thunder"
Status: in active service, as of 2020
General characteristics
Class & type: Juniper-class Buoy Tender
Displacement: 2,000 tons (full load)
Length: 225 ft (69 m)
Beam: 46 ft (14 m)
Draft: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Propulsion: Two 3,100 hp Caterpillar
diesel engines
Speed: 16 knots
Complement: 8 officers, 40 enlisted
Armament: 2 x .50 caliber machine guns, option for 1 x 25mm cannon

USCGC Elm (WLB-204) is the fourth of the U.S. Coast Guard's Juniper-class seagoing buoy tenders. She is outfitted with advanced technological and navigational capabilities. She is also the flagship of the Coast Guard's Fifth District.


Elm is capable of performing almost every Coast Guard mission. Her primary mission is servicing 240 Aids to Navigation between Shark River, NJ and the NC/SC border. Elm has also participated in Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection, Icebreaking, and Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security Missions.


All of the Juniper class of buoy tenders were designed with an optimally manned crew. As a result, Elm has a comparatively small crew for a ship her size, and she has to leverage technology quite extensively to make the most out of her crew. To this end, Elm is equipped with an integrated computer system that monitors all spaces within the ship, and is capable of performing mundane tasks that would normally require human intervention.

Elm also takes full advantage of the latest developments in electronic navigation and charting. The ECPINS system provides deck officers with real time information about almost all the variables that concern them, and the dynamic positioning system aboard ship is fully capably of maintaining station in anything short of a severe storm.

The spilled oil recovery system that all Juniper class buoy tenders are equipped with is another unique feature. This system allows Elm to serve as a first responder to an oil spill. With the deployment of two booms from the sides of the ship, and the deployment of a bladder behind the ship, Elm is capable of skimming up a significant amount of oil on very short notice.

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