The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — The Coast Guard held a ceremony to recognize the 174th and final delivery of the Coast Guard’s 45-foot response boat-medium at Sector St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
The 174th RB-M was delivered for use at Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg on Feb. 26.
Vice Adm. Peter V. Neffenger, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, members involved in the Coast Guard’s acquisition program, members from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg and maritime industry personnel attended the ceremony to recognize the final delivery milestone.
"Our mission has changed a lot over the years,” said Neffenger. “As the mission has grown, we outgrew the 41-foot utility boat and we needed something that was capable of doing a lot more than just search and rescue."
The 45-foot RB-M is a platform used for search and rescue, law enforcement, and ports waterways and coastal security missions close to shore. It is part of the Coast Guard’s efforts to upgrade and standardize its boat fleet, and replaces the 1970s-era 41-foot utility boat, which has been retired from service. The RB-M can travel at speeds in excess of 40 knots and has a range of 250 nautical miles. Its twin-jet propulsion engines increase its maneuverability, allowing it to get closer to other vessels and to more safely retrieve people from the water.
Since the Coast Guard received its first RB-M in 2008, the boats have been delivered to over 110 units across 30 states and territories. The Coast Guard is now in the process of transitioning the program to sustainment, including preparing product lines to support the RB-Ms for the rest of their service lives.
“The RB-M’s navigation system is a huge help for us. The fact that it draws less than the 41-foot UTB allows us to go into waters we couldn’t before,” said Senior Chief Eamon McCormack, the officer in charge of Station St. Petersburg. “Its speed has been a huge help for us as well. We’re able to shave our transit time in half.”
Station St. Petersburg received one RB-M in 2010 and is looking forward to using its second.
Click here to view a video of the ceremony and the Marinette-Kvichak RB-M.