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USCGC Spar (WLB-403)
Career (United States) Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Builder: Marine Ironworks and Shipbuilding Corporation, Duluth, Minnesota[1]
Cost: $865,941[1]
Laid down: 13 September 1943[1]
Launched: 2 November 1943[1]
Commissioned: 12 June 1944[1]
Decommissioned: 28 February 1997[2]
Fate: Scuttled
General characteristics
Class & type: Iris
Displacement: 1,025 long tons (1,041 t)
Length: 180 ft (55 m)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Propulsion: 2 × General Motors Corporation EMD 645 V8 diesel engines
Speed: 1945: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)[1]
Range: 1945: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)[1]
Complement: 55 enlisted and 7 officers
Armament: 1943:[1]
4 × 20-mm guns
1 × 3"/50 cal. deck gun
2 × depth charge racks
2 × mousetraps
Peacetime: None.

USCGC Spar (WLB-403) was a 180-foot (55 m) sea going buoy tender. An Iris class vessel, she was built by Marine Ironworks and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth, Minnesota. Spar's preliminary design was completed by the United States Lighthouse Service and the final design was produced by Marine Iron and Shipbuilding. On 13 September 1943 the keel was laid, she was launched on 2 November 1943 and commissioned on 12 June 1944. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $865,941.[1]

Spar was one of 39 original 180-foot (55 m) seagoing buoy tenders built between 1942-1944. All of the seagoing buoy tenders were build in Duluth except USCGC Ironwood (WLB-307).[3] Spar's most notable accomplishment was a mission to be the first vessels to circumnavigate North America along with sister ship USCGC Bramble (WLB-392) and the larger USCGC Storis (WMEC-38) from 18 May to 24 September 1957.[3][4]

Spar was decommissioned in 1997 and sold at auction. After changing hands several times, she ended up being transferred to the Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation, who evaluated her and determined their best use of the ship was to sell her, or parts of her, to raise money to support their other projects. Spar's main engines, generators, and other equipment were removed and sold to re-power another vessel. The remains of the vessel were scuttled in October 2004 in 108 feet of water, 30 miles (48 km) off Morehead City, North Carolina, where she now serves as an artificial reef.[citation needed]


  • Scheina, Robert L. (1982). U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-717-3. 
  •    (1990). U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946–1990. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-719-7. 

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